Study shows more Houstonians in need of help

February 3, 2010 10:31:19 AM PST
A nationwide study on hunger shows more people in the Houston area are relying on the Food Bank to eat. Officials think the financial crisis is partly to blame for the rise. This study is done every four years and the most recent report reflects the numbers between 2005 and 2009. It shows a stunning 70 percent increase in the number of people served each week by the Houston Food Bank and its partners. The Food Bank has been is in the midst of a Souper Bowl for Caring drive, so there has been additional focus this month on raising resources for the hungry.

These new study results show that the need is greater than ever. They say it's the largest increase they have ever seen since they started doing the study, spurred largely by the economym, but also by more aggressively seeking out those in need.

The study creates a sobering picture of who Food Bank clients really are these days. Half of the households have at least one employed adult.

"Sixty percent report that in the last year, that they have had to choose between food and rent or mortgage, they could not afford to do both," said Brian Greene with the Houston Food Bank. "In those circumstances where you can't afford to do both, hunger, as bizarre and as cruel as it sounds, becomes a rational choice. You are better off to go hungry than to become homeless."

In the 2006 report of the 18 counties that makes up southeast Texas, the Houston Food Bank shows it assisted 80,800 people a week. The most recent report shows the Food Bank is now assisting 137,000 people a week.