HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A recently released report on hunger in America includes statistics compiled by agencies from all 50 states. The Hawaii Food Bank submitted information for inclusion in the report, which is released once every four years.
Over the past four years, the number of people annually served by the Food Bank has risen from 183,500 to 287,000.
"The frightening thing is we had such rapid growth" said Hawaii Food Bank CEO Dick Grimm. He says the number is a conservative calculation. "You have to realize that these numbers are only with the clients that we serve. So there are more people out there that are not counted in this number".
Other numbers in the report are just as bleak:
- 123,000 households served, including almost 48,000 keiki and 46,000 kupuna.
- 75% of households that were assisted fell below the federal poverty level.
- 62% of respondents said they had to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities.
"One of the easiest things to cut is food, and because of that, they cut back and they're not getting the nutrition they need" said Grimm.
The Food Bank is also feeding the crunch, as increased demand has stressed the supply.
"We're purchasing over 3 million pounds of food, every year now. This year will probably be closer to 4 million pounds" Grimm said.
Grimm added that the Food Bank can better take advantage of monetary donations over food drop-offs because of its ability to buy in bulk, as opposed to retail.
"If you send us money, we can buy a container load--40,000 pounds---of apples, pears, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and deliver it here in Honolulu for about 21-25 cents per pound".
The Hawaii Food Bank currently has a 14 day supply in its Oahu warehouse, and has already distributed over a million pounds of food since the beginning of July.