More Hungry Americans Turn to Food Banks for Help

The struggling economy and rising food prices are forcing more people to turn to food banks.

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The combination of a struggling economy and sharply rising food prices is forcing more people to seek emergency help from the nation's food banks, which serve mainly the poor and elderly. America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network on Friday reported the results of a new survey that found demand was up at the 49 food banks it surveyed around the country. The increase is estimated at 15 to 20 percent.

Testifying at a special hearing of Congress's Joint Economic Committee yesterday, America's Second Harvest supported the pending farm bill and requested an immediate $100 million in emergency funding to help meet the increased needs brought on by the current food crisis.

Many of the food banks reported they are now unable to adequately meet the increased demand, and some are starting to reduce the amount and variety of food they distribute. "The America's Second Harvest Network and food service organizations nationwide have been absolutely overwhelmed by demand," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of America's Second Harvest. "Supply is not keeping up with demand and we must do something quickly to meet the needs of the more than 35 million struggling Americans trying to make ends meet and feed themselves and their families."