Reuters updated 2:10 p.m. ET, Tues., Dec. 23, 2008
U.S. food banks have reported a 30 percent rise in requests for emergency food assistance, according to a report issued last week by Feeding America, which supports 63,000 agencies and is the nation's largest hunger relief organization.
The group said the situation is expected to grow worse in 2009 amid rising unemployment, and a consortium of charity groups are calling on Washington for more federal assistance. U.S. employers cut 533,000 jobs in November alone, the highest monthly number in 34 years.
"We're in a crisis. Absolutely," said Feeding America spokeswoman Maura Daly.
Food assistance groups said many families who show up at their doors were recently making it on their own. But two years of rising food and energy costs ate into what little safety net those families had. Now, as jobs losses rise, many who were making ends meet can no longer do so.