So what does it mean to be hungry in Arizona? Hunger in America is hard to see. We don't often see Images of families and children in severe conditions dealing with food deprivation. Hunger that's closer to home is often an "invisible" issue that goes unnoticed and misunderstood. Families, elderly and even the working class struggle with hunger in silence and are left to find ways to battle this with little to no help.
Americans have little choices when dealing with hunger. Many turn to the SNAP program (formerly known as food stamps) in hopes to acquire enough food to feed their families. However families are now dealing with recent SNAP cuts made to this essential program. A family of four now receives anywhere from $30-$40 less in food benefits a month. People said they felt desperate by the end of the month when they are trying to stretch a couple hundred dollars into a month’s worth of groceries. Meanwhile, the prices important food staples like rice, corn, beans, breads and oils have increased in cost making grocery stores a daily survival game.
The huge weight of feeding the working poor has fallen on local food banks, pantries and churches, most are community supported and struggle consistently with donations. Most people that come through our doors are in need of supplements to help fill their kitchen cabinets. Food items such as fresh vegetables, meats, fresh fruits, breads and more are in great need. Local families can't afford these extras so they come to the food bank in hopes of finding these much needed items.
Being hungry in Arizona is a daily struggle that 1 in 6 people, 1 in 4 children and 1 in 7 seniors must face everyday. They walk or drive by grocery stores, local food chains, national restaurants with uncertainty looming over them about how and when food will be available. They face difficult choices every month; do they pay a bill or have enough money to buy food for the week. They sacrifice their own meals to ensure their children will have enough food for the day. They cut back on buying nutritional foods in order to buy cheaper more processed food items just have something in their cabinets and refrigerators.