A Major Public Health Concern Continues to Rise in Massachusetts
There's no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic turned life upside down for pretty much everyone who experienced it. Families had to deal with unemployment which made paying bills including heat, food, fuel, rent, mortgage, etc. extremely difficult. Many families are still struggling to make ends meet. Needless to say, a lot of people are still experiencing very trying times.
Massachusetts Families are Still Struggling to Put Food on the Tables in Berkshire County and Throughout Massachusetts
You may know that many families in the Berkshires are dealing with food insecurities. As Rees Shad from the People's Pantry in Great Barrington has mentioned time and time again, this is the first time the People's Pantry has had to reach out to the public for support and donations in 23 years. Yes, this is the first fundraiser the People's Pantry has ever had. The reason for this is that demand is four times higher than it was before the pandemic and it's not slowing down any time soon. As a matter of fact, the demand for food from these types of shelters keeps growing on a regular basis. In addition, the People's Pantry's operating costs have risen by $500 percent (see video below).
Food insecurity isn't just a public health issue in the Berkshires, as a matter of fact, it's one of the biggest public health challenges across the State of Massachusetts. Project Bread's website has shared the following statistic.
In May 2020, a staggering 23.6% of households with children in Massachusetts were food insecure. Recent trends show that food insecurity among households with children in Massachusetts has risen, surpassing the May 2020 spike that we saw at the onset of the pandemic, and moving further away from the low we saw in April 2021 when families were receiving a whole host of federal and state level benefits.
You can get more statistics regarding food insecurity in Massachusetts by going here.
Are You Able to Help?
It's crystal clear that food insecurity in Massachusetts continues to be a major issue and concern. As we start to head into the holiday season, if you are able to make a food or monetary donation to a food pantry that is struggling in your area, it would be much appreciated.
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Gallery Credit: Joni Sweet
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