In response to an announcement by the U.S. Census Bureau indicating poverty levels are at an all-time high since 1951, the San Francisco Food Bank said Thursday the national trend mirrors what San Francisco has been experiencing.
The official federal poverty rate rose to 14.3 percent in 2009, up from 13.2 percent in 2008.
More than 150,000 San Franciscans live at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty line, according to a statement by the food bank, and are likely to experience food scarcity and hungry.
During the time period corresponding to the Census Bureau’s report, the food bank said it saw a nearly 25 percent increase in the number of households requesting food assistance through the food pantry network.
In response to that increased need, the food bank created programs like the Morning Snack Program, which provides healthy snacks to more than 6,000 youth each day.
Distributing more food has also been a food bank priority. In 2009, more than 37 million pounds of food were distributed, up 17 percent from 2008 when the food bank distributed nearly 32 million pounds.
One in four children in San Francisco aren’t certain where their next meal will come from, according to the food bank, and one in five adults are at risk of hunger.
Of the families using food bank services, 84 percent of families with children had at least one person who had lost their job or had hours or pay reduced during 2009, according to the food bank.