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US, California Face Hunger Cliff

Rising inflation collides with disappearing food assistance.

During the pandemic, food banks in the Bay Area and abroad experienced massive hikes in the numbers of people seeking their services. This led our nation's government to bolster its support to low income families via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Unfortunately, despite the diminishing threat of Covid-19, the number of families impacted by food insecurity continued to rise, thus overwhelming the efforts of many food distribution services.

Today, assistance provided by the SNAP program, which many Americans rely heavily upon to provide food for their families, is being drastically reduced. While the average recipient will see a $90 reduction in benefits, many households are seeing their monthly benefit plummet from $250 to $20. As a result, families who relied on discount grocery outlets are now resorting to food pantries organized by local churches, neighborhoods, and nonprofit organizations.

When paired with rising US inflation, this loss of benefits is creating an emergency situation that is being referred to as a "hunger cliff" for its potential to cause food banks to become unable to keep food on their shelves. Of our 50 states, the gravest of concerns are over California, whose gas prices are the highest in the country, and whose population has the highest number of residents without sufficient access to food. Needless to say, we have a tough road ahead of us.

In an age of political unrest among American citizens, we at LEAF have no interest in taking sides or pointing out who's to blame. We simply see this as a reality that demands our attention as well as our action. Because hunger impacts us without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, or political affiliation, putting an end to it can only be done in the same manner. United, our 50 states have all the provisions needed to end hunger, homelessness, and joblessness. But we'll never see an end to any of these as long we remain divided.

Last year, with the help of volunteers and members of our community who were inspired to give, LEAF was able to donate enough fruits and vegetables to supplement as many as 19,000 meals for our friends and neighbors. There are more organizations who take similar strides to serve families in the Bay Area. And we invite you to get involved with any one of them. If you have a skill, that skill can be used to help others in need. If you haven't had to rely upon government assistance, you can make a donation that will allow organizations like ours to help those who no longer have it. Cook someone a meal. Buy someone a tank of gas. More than ever, we need each other today. Let's get to work.

If you'd like to join LEAF as a volunteer or further our efforts with a donation, here are links that will allow you to do it.

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