food bank requests protein rich donations in recognition of hunger action day
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Food bank requests protein-rich donations in recognition of Hunger Action Day

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Food costs are up 11.4 percent, the biggest annual increase since 1979.

As food prices keep rising, more community members are turning to their local food banks for relief.

Friday, September 23 is Hunger Action Day.

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is looking for donations of more protein-rich food, such as peanut butter, to meet demand in the region.

The largest share of adults who need food-assistance programs in the 25 counties served by the Food Bank are single mothers. They often earn lower wages while also paying heightened childcare costs.

On Wed., Sept. 28, the White house will host its Hunger, Nutrition and Health symposium.

“The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health underscores the fact that food insecurity is a public health crisis, and not one that can be solved by either government or charities alone,” said Michael McKee, BRAFB CEO. “Food banks were intended to provide food assistance in emergencies, but as more of the families who turn to us are working and relying more regularly on us to put food on their tables, we recognize that the time has come to improve SNAP (the Supplemental Food Assistance Program, formerly food stamps).”

According to McKee, SNAP accounts for 10 times the amount of food distributed by U.S. food banks.

“Food industry donations to food banks are declining due to efficiencies in manufacturing, and food banks are making up the difference by buying food,” McKee said. “That’s simply not as cost effective as loading dollars onto an electronic benefits card, especially for senior citizens who often cannot get to a food pantry when one is open because they are dependent on others for transportation.  If the minimum benefit amount for eligible senior citizens were raised to $100 from about $16, the added cost would be more than offset by reduced health care expenses associated with treating diet-related diseases tied to food insecurity.”

Food donations are welcome at the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, 96 Laurel Hill Road in Verona, as well as distribution centers in Winchester, Charlottesville and Lynchburg.

 

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.