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Congressman Garamendi’s Thanksgiving Message: Unemployment is Creating Hunger in America

November 25, 2009
Press Release

WALNUT GROVE, CA – Congressman John Garamendi, (D-Walnut Creek, California), today issued the following statement for Thanksgiving:

"On Thanksgiving, we come together with friends and family to celebrate all of life’s blessings. On this holiday when we give thanks, we should all take a moment to remember that millions of our fellow Americans are struggling to make ends meet in this tough economy. 49 million Americans, including 17 million children, are food insecure, and food banks across the country are overwhelmed with families who have seen mothers and fathers lose their jobs. As the wealthiest country on Earth, we can do more to make sure no one goes hungry in America."

According to a study published by Feeding America, a domestic hunger-relief charity with a network of more than 200 food banks in all 50 states:

  • The average increase in demand for their services from summer 2008 to summer 2009 was 30 percent;
  • 91 percent of food banks cite unemployment and 79 percent cite underemployment as critical factors in the increasing need for emergency food. In 2008, only 43 percent cited unemployment as a major factor;
  • New food bank demand is particularly driven by first-time recipients of food assistance (98 percent) and newly unemployed (92 percent); and
  • More than half of all food banks reported that they had to turn people away within the past year.

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service:

  • 49 million Americans, including nearly 17 million children, were food insecure in 2008, a 36 percent increase from 2007;
  • 42 percent of households below the poverty line are food insecure;
  • 37 percent of households headed by a single woman are food insecure; and
  • Households with children had nearly twice the food insecurity (21 percent) as households without children (11 percent).