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Ohio Foodbanks at Crisis Point

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April 16, 2007


Ohio food banks are seeing rising demand and shrinking supply, forcing some to ration the amounts of food they give out. Lisa Hamler-Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks says stagnant wages, job cutbacks, mortgage foreclosures, and high gas and utility costs are forcing more working families to turn to food assistance. She says state government can help with more funding to supply Ohio produce to foodbanks, as well as making more Ohioans eligible for food stamps.

"We desperately need the support of members of the Ohio General Assembly now to help us provide the most basic of all human needs, and that's food."

Hamler-Fugitt says hunger in Ohio is on the rise, and while it's typically a problem in urban and rural areas, she's seen growing demand in suburban areas as well. The supply of food has dried up, as many former donors are no longer able to help out, and a major federal food program has seen major cutbacks.

"We've lost nine million pounds of federal government commodities this year, with a value of more than $18.5 million. So as we struggle to try to keep the shelves full, our agencies, many are having to ration food."

Hamler-Fugitt hopes Congress will restore funding to the commodity program in the next U.S. Farm Bill.

Rob Ferrett/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OH