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Survey: 75% of Arizonans Trying to Stretch Food Budgets

September 8, 2008

Phoenix, AZ – It's not just poor families who are being hit squarely in their wallets and pocketbooks by rising food prices. In a recent Wall Street Journal survey, 75 percent of families say they've started limiting the number of shopping trips they make each week, as a way to save on their grocery bills.

Ginny Hildebrand, executive director of the Association of Arizona Food Banks, says her staff is seeing the struggle firsthand, with a dramatic increase in the number of new people asking for help.

"Not only are the people that foodbanks are serving being touched by the economic downturn, it's a lot of people."

Food dollars can be stretched with menu planning, another strategy Hildebrand says can control the amount of money spent on food.

"Try to work with what you've got in the cupboard. Try to stay out of the store, every other day."

Hildebrand points to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau numbers, which show the median income for Arizonans has fallen compared to 2001. That, combined with the housing crisis and higher gas prices, are the reasons she believes more people are seeking assistance from food banks.

Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - AZ