PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Community Food Bank is out with its annual hunger report. Rhode Island now outranks Maine for having the highest level of food insecurity in New England.
The need for food assistance has reached an all time high in Rhode Island, according the Community Food Bank's 2012 Status Report on Hunger. It shows a doubling of the number of people accessing food pantries since the recession began. During the same time frame, food stamp use zoomed from 79-thousand to 175-thousand.
The report shows the number of people accessing food pantries has grown 10 percent in the last year, while donations have decreased because the food production industry is producing less waste. Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff says that means they have to go out to the open market to buy food. "It means the loss of two million pounds of food over the last four years. And so we have to make up for that by purchasing food and we do that in coordination with other New England food banks because everyone's seeing the same trend."
Rhode Island Community Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff says Rhode Island has supplanted Maine as having the highest rate of food insecurity in New England. "It's very disturbing because it also goes along with the fact that Rhode Island has the second highest unemployment level in the whole country. And so as the economy has failed to bounce back, we are now seeing over 15 percent of Rhode Island households say that they cannot afford adequate food."
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