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20% of Michiganders Have had Trouble Feeding Themselves and Their Families

PHOTO: Nationwide survey shows one in five Michigan residents have trouble finding enough to eat.
PHOTO: Nationwide survey shows one in five Michigan residents have trouble finding enough to eat.
March 1, 2013

LANSING, Mich. – Hunger continues to be a problem in Michigan, according to a national report being released this week.

The Food Research and Action Center, or FRAC, says the problem could get worse if popular food assistance programs aren't adequately funded.

About 20 percent of Michigan residents said they were unable to afford enough food for themselves or their families at least once last year.

Terri Stangl, executive director of the Center for Civil Justice, says SNAP, the national food assistance program – which used to be called food stamps – was never intended to provide a family with all of its food needs.

"The cash that a family may have had to help supplement SNAP is now being spent on higher gas prices, on higher utility prices on higher expenses for other basic needs,” she says. “So, it's no longer there to make up the gap in the food budget."

Stangl and other advocates say the U.S. Congress needs to make the country's food safety net stronger by increasing funding to food assistance programs like SNAP and recalculating how those dollars are allocated. But they say the ultimate solution would be more jobs at better wages.

Jim Weill, president of the Food Research Action Center, says while the United States doesn't have starvation problems like many countries, hunger is still a serious problem.

"We have a lot of families in which parents are skipping meals, so kids can get enough to eat,” he says. “We know from the research that that means parents and kids aren't doing as well at work and at school as they would be doing if they were consistently eating a healthy diet."

Rob South, Public News Service - MI