Record Breaking Demand for Food

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November 22, 2010; Source: Washington Post | There is going to be a lot of crowding at food banks and pantries in the Washington, D.C. region this Thanksgiving, with some places not able to serve everyone looking for a meal or food to take home. The Washington Post reports that nonprofits that serve meals or give away food are “struggling to meet record-breaking demand as the holidays approach.”

Examples cited in the story, and which show the depth of the problem, include plans for the first-ever Thanksgiving meal for 2,000 families in Loudoun County, which the paper says is the nation’s wealthiest by median income. Another nonprofit has added Saturday hours to better service working families who aren’t making enough to put food on the tables, and a third is worried that it’s likely it can’t feed more than 2,400 families on Thanksgiving, although there are at least 650 more looking for a place to eat.

Finding a meal this Thanksgiving is not just a one-off. According to U.S. Agriculture figures, the number of people experiencing “food insecurity”—a term only a bureaucrat could cook up to describe people uncertain about the prospects for their next meal—has increased between 1 and 2 percent in Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland. For some, this is their first taste of living without the means to fully support themselves and their families. One food center manager reports that the formerly affluent, now homeless and sleeping in their cars, are among people showing up for help.—Bruce Trachtenberg