Need for food assistance still high in central Pa., as nationwide hunger declines

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Dec 7, 2017 5:24 PM

(Harrisburg) -- The need for food assistance in central Pennsylvania remains high, even as a report shows food insecurity nationwide decreased slightly last year. 

The report from Hunger Free America said while hunger declined, an epidemic of "the working hungry" exists across the country.

Nine percent of employed adults are food-insecure in Pennsylvania, which is a little less than the national average of 10.3 percent. 

Joe Arthur, executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, said his organization worked with about three times as many people last year as they did in 2007, just before the Great Recession hit.

"Last year, we actually distributed over 48 million pounds of food--our highest total ever in our 27 counties--and we're actually on pace to be a little bit higher than that this year," Arthur said. 

The food bank served more than 450,000 people last year. About half that figure is made up of working families with children.

Arthur said even though the economy has been on an upswing, many families still need help.

"What we find is that there is a whole segment of folks that are struggling that are not falling within measured poverty, but they just simply--it's not enough money to have a stable household and afford all the things you need to afford," he said.

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