Number of Visits to Food Pantries Soars

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The number of Americans relying on food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters for day-to-day survival has surged 36 percent since 2006 according to a nationwide study that Feeding America, a Chicago-based hunger-relief group, will release later today. In Cook County alone—home to Chicago and a little more than 5 million people—nearly 700,000 people received some form of emergency food in 2009. Perhaps the most disturbing information in the study is the disproportionate number of children receiving handouts: 37 percent of the people served by the Greater Chicago Food Depository were under the age of 18 and 9 percent under the age of 5. "We’re seeing more people that are new to food banks," the president of Feeding America told the Chicago Tribune. "This is going to be the new normal for our work at least over the next two to five years." Given these increases, it’s not surprising that 70 percent of the pantries that Feeding America works with reported either a lack of food or funding.

Read original story in The Chicago Tribune | Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

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