Historic rates of unemployment, foreclosure, and lack of access to healthcare have stretched families to the limit. As a result, many are increasingly unable to meet the most fundamental of needs –food. In a report released this Wednesday the Annie E. Casey Foundation reports that 42% of U.S. children are living in low-income families (at or below 200% of the federal poverty level). Hunger remains pervasive and deep particularly in big cities. This fact was brought very close to home after the Food Research and Action Center report on children and hunger showed Philadelphia’s first congressional district (which includes Kensington, parts of North and South Philadelphia, and Chester) as the second-hungriest place in the country for families with children.
The Center’s report on High Impact Philanthropy in the Downturn features several models and examples of organizations working to increase food security for families. One local featured Model in Action, Philabundance, is convening a Hunger Symposium Thursday, September 22, 2011 in Philadelphia; Mariana Chilton, who also spoke at the Center’s Donor Education Seminar 2010, will serve on a panel discussing the effects of poverty on food need.
As the specter of possible future cuts in public programming looms, it is more urgent than ever to find the most effective models in working against food insecurity so that philanthropists can get “the biggest bang for the buck.” Donors can refer to the Center’s guide for models that are providing the greatest social impact in easing food poverty.