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Food Banks Brace for November Rush

PHOTO: Hunger affects people of all ages from all corners of Missouri and it could get worse as supplemental benefits to federal food stamp programs run out this week. Photo courtesy of Harvesters: The Community Food Network.
PHOTO: Hunger affects people of all ages from all corners of Missouri and it could get worse as supplemental benefits to federal food stamp programs run out this week. Photo courtesy of Harvesters: The Community Food Network.
October 28, 2013

ST. LOUIS - Right now, one in seven Missouri residents meets the definition of "food insecure," meaning they are unable to consistently afford enough food. That number could go up this week. On Nov. 1, federal food stamp benefits will decrease by $36 per month for a family of four, as additional funding granted at the height of the recession comes to an end.

Ellen Feldhausen, director of communications for Harvesters: The Community Food Network, said the cuts come at a very tough time for hungry Missourians.

"For most families, the benefit only lasts them about two and a half or three weeks out of the month. Then they need to turn to the nonprofit sector for food," she said.

According to Feldhausen, the most-needed items right now are canned fruits, vegetables and meats; soups, peanut butter, hot and cold cereals; personal care items and money. Every dollar donated to Harvesters can provide five meals for those in need.

Feldhausen said many families across their 26-county service area have not caught up from the devastating effects of the recession, and she worries about the additional effects the funding cuts will have on a safety net that is already stretched thin.

"We've seen the need continue to go up," Feldhausen said. "They are still seeing new faces; they're seeing people come into their pantries, their kitchens, their shelters for the very first time."

Thirty-seven percent of those served by Harvesters are children. That has prompted some Missouri health officials to put out the call for donations of baby food and unexpired infant formula, which Harvesters will gladly accept.



Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO