Magazine article The Christian Century

U.S. Hunger Rate Still at Historic High

Magazine article The Christian Century

U.S. Hunger Rate Still at Historic High

Article excerpt

The number of Americans struggling with hunger remained stable in 2009 despite the economic downturn but at the highest recorded level, according to new federal figures.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released statistics November 15 showing that one in seven American households could not buy adequate food last year due to lack of money and other resources.

The number of people suffering from "food insecurity" increased only one-tenth of a percentage point from 2008, but that number is almost more than 4 percentage points higher than it was ten years ago--and the highest since 1995.

"It could be worse," said David Beckmann, a Lutheran minister and president of the ecumenical anti-hunger group Bread for the World, in an interview with CNN. "I was struck that the numbers did not increase from the end of 2008 to the end of 2009."

Coincidentally, lay and ordained Presbyterians surveyed in February were fairly optimistic about solving domestic hunger problems by 2035. The figures were released November 16 in the latest Presbyterian Panel survey from the 2-million-member Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

About half of members (47 percent) and elders (50 percent) and three in five pastors (60 percent) and nonparish ministers (63 percent) either "strongly agree" or "agree" that the problem of widespread hunger in the U. …

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