It’s that time of year. Politicians are giving away turkeys. Airports are crowded with travelers. Grocery stores are selling out of cranberry sauce and stuffing.
But in the midst of all this plenty, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that many families are going hungry. In fact, more families had trouble providing food for their households last year than at any point since the agency started collecting this information in 1995.
In DC, one in eight households struggled to provide enough food to feed their households last year. Rising unemployment and a lack of jobs have forced many DC families to tighten their belts. But, as this report shows, too many families in the District face challenges that go beyond belt-tightening ‘ they are struggling to provide for their families’ most basic needs.
One way DC families can get help with food costs is by applying for assistance from the District’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). DC’s SNAP program has been responding to the increased need for assistance, serving nearly 109,000 families in August 2009, compared to 93,000 families at the same time last year. Legislation recently passed by the DC Council will make it easier for families with modest savings, such as those who have recently lost their jobs, to access food assistance. DC’s Income Maintenance Administration should move quickly to implement this legislation so that more families can get the help they need during this difficult economic time.