Many Hoosier families are struggling to stretch their grocery budgets. A reduction in food assistance benefits last month meant about 36-dollars less in food stamp benefits per month for a family of four. And that’s resulted in longer lines at food pantries and soup kitchens, says Tim Keane, who heads the Second Harvest Foodbank of Central Indiana.
“It’s a particular issue for folks that are struggling, because their resources are stretched just as much as everyone else’s. And certainly, trying to make some accommodations for celebrating the holidays are particularly hard for them,” said Keane.
Although economists point to signs of economic recovery, Keane says the increasing number of clients at their food pantries paints a different picture.
“There may be more folks that now have found it difficult to find employment that will pay them a living wage. So, we see folks that maybe used to be our donors, are now are in line as clients receiving service.”
Food pantries typically benefit from the generosity of those who are in the holiday spirit between Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, he’s worried about what happens to needy families after the first of the year.
“January, February, March, where the weather is typically the worst, utility costs are typically the highest and resources may be more scarce than they’ve ever been.”
Keane says hunger in Indiana is widespread, with one in six adults and one in four children considered ‘food insecure,’ unsure whether they’ll have enough food for regular daily meals. He believes local, state and federal leaders need to take a closer look at the reasons some people are struggling now more than ever, and develop long-term solutions.