Archive for March, 2011

On the north side of Seattle, Volunteers of America’s Western Washington affiliate operates two food banks, which combined serve more than 6,000 people each month with emergency food. While Volunteers of America provides services that address hunger in all areas of the country, these operations in Seattle are among our largest and most established.

One thing that stands out about the Seattle programs is that they are located in neighborhoods you might not think would be home to food banks. These are middle-class areas filled with well-maintained homes. The clients also represent a full variety of people, not just the stereotypical image of someone threatened with hunger. They range in age from children to seniors in wheelchairs. With the recent recession, many clients are college-educated professionals and young families who, because of a lost job, have spent down their savings and now need help putting food on the table.

According to a 2009 report from the USDA, 50.2 million Americans – including 33 million adults and 17.2 million children – lived in homes where the food supply was considered to be “insecure.” Homes with children were twice as likely to have insecure food supplies. Homes headed by single women with children were the group most likely to be threatened by hunger, with 38.6 percent falling into this category nationwide.

The plight of women suffering from hunger is especially important because it quite often affects the children under her care. That is why Volunteers of America takes a comprehensive approach to services for families in need. The lives of individuals can’t improve in a vacuum, and the needs of mothers and other family members must be tended to if children are ultimately going to live a better life.

On March 8, Volunteers of America celebrated its 115th anniversary. Since our founding more than a century ago, combating hunger has been one of our central service efforts. Co-founder Maud Booth was a leading advocate in her day for the plight of those less fortunate and was a pioneer for all women leaders. She understood that in order to build stronger communities and better lives for people, one must first address the basic necessities of life, such as regular, nourishing meals. That was true in 1896 and it’s still true today. While many things have changed in the world since Volunteers of America was founded, hunger, unfortunately, remains a reality for many people.

Please help us in our fight against hunger.

– By Mike King, National President and CEO, Volunteers of America

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