Hunger in Williston
According to the 2000 US Census, 143 Williston households have an annual income of less than $15,000 per year, which is the demographic most likely to use a Food Shelf. An additional 250 households have incomes below $25,000 per year. With the growth in the population of Williston since 2000, the significant increases in the cost of living, and the economic recession, we are expecting a rise in the number of families we are serving at the food shelf. Since opening in 2008, the Williston Community Food Shelf we have had 27,046 family visits, which translates into 79,200 people being fed. We regularly feed about 250 families per month.
Hunger in Vermont
The Food Stamp Program, the School Breakfast and Lunch programs, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program are government funded packages which help to feed families. These programs give our country's low-income population a safety net, but sometimes they don't reach the people who need them. Of all of the people in Vermont who are eligible for food stamps, only 62 percent actually use them, and some families in our area still need extra help to be able to pay their bills. Half of the struggle of fighting hunger is getting funding and food, the other half is getting that food to the families that need it. With a weak economy and rising food prices, it is getting more and more difficult to fight hunger.
Hunger At Home and Abroad
Everyone knows that people in third world countries face hunger every day. About 820 million people in developing countries don't get enough to eat. But many are unaware that their neighbors in developed countries are also struggling to get sufficient amounts of food. Over 30 million people in the United States live in food insecure households, and of these people, about 12.6 million are children. It is incredible that in one of the world's most developed countries, so many people are having trouble meeting their most basic human needs.
Food Insecure Households
When we think of hunger we usually think of a child who is all skin and bones, but hunger in America is harder to see. In the United States, people aren't categorized as hungry or not – households are defined as food secure (high food security or marginal food security) or food insecure (low food security or very low food security). Food insecure doesn't mean a family is not eating, but they face many problems. Constantly having to skip meals or eat poor quality food can lead to malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. Poor nutrition, especially in children, can have adverse effects on learning, development, productivity, mental and physical health – as well as overall sense of happiness. These categories, along with the National Census, allow the government to determine who needs help.