While many Americans will be sitting down to a hearty Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, too many others will go hungry. With the current recession and increasing unemployment, the number of Americans who lacked enough food hit a record high in 2008, and charities can’t keep up. A look at what’s going on around the country:
– Phoenix: “Donations aren’t meeting demand this year” at St. Mary’s food bank. They’re hoping to receive 26,000 donated turkeys, but by Monday they were only halfway there. “A lot of people who used to give as donors are now coming to us and asking for food,” said St. Mary’s Jerry Brown. “These 3 days are going to be make-or-break whether or not we’re going to be able to feed everybody this year,” Brown added.
– Mississippi: The Mississippi Food Network, which supplies non-profits throughout the state, has decided that it cannot provide turkeys this year “for the first time ever.” It expects to feed nearly double the number of people as it did last year and the cost of turkey has gone up.
– Houston: Organizers are expecting 25,000 needy people to show up at the convention center on Thursday, but they are almost “in the panic mode” as “more than a dozen companies that financially supported the dinner in years past have pulled out, and 60 percent of the remaining donors have scaled back their donations.” As of Saturday, they had fewer than a third of the number of turkeys they need and lacked “the traditional Thanksgiving Day vegetables.”
– Boston: The Greater Boston Food Bank gave out 38,000 turkeys last year. This year, a ticker on their website shows they have collected just 4,200 so far.
Hunger relief agency Feeding America found that 99 percent of food banks reported increases in demand for emergency food aid. But due to weak donations, 78 percent have had to reduce the amount of food provided and 55 percent have had to turn people away.