Food Insecurity Rising Among Ohioans

By
Michael Locklear

Dateline
Updated Tue, Sep 11, 2012 3:23 pm

A new report shows more than 15 percent of Ohio households aren't sure where they'll find their next meal.

The United States Department of Agriculture released the data last week.
 
Cindy Camacho has been coming to the Fairfield County Food Pantry since 2008.
 
That's when it moved to this location on East Main Street.
 
She's not surprised one in six Ohioans struggles to put food on the table.
 
"I come here to augment my food stamps and get me through the month easier. But it's hard, even with the food pantries around to get everything you want and need like fresh fruits and produce," said Camacho.
 
Many say the reason for high levels of food insecurity is the tough economy.
 
"Those wages just are not keeping pace for them to be able to cover their overall cost of basic needs, and unfortunately, it's food that suffers for far too many of our families," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.
 
Joblessness is part of the problem.
 
Jody Estepp was hurt a few years ago.
 
He now counts on the food pantry to help feed his family of four.
 
"Takes a big toll when you're used to making some decent money and now you're barely scraping by," said Estepp.
 
In the four years the Fairfield County pantry's been open, Mark McPherson, food pantry manager, says he has seen a 15 percent increase in the number of families who go there.
 
He attributes the uptick to a bad economy.
 
"I wish I had a crystal ball that I could look into and say, 'Hey, folks, you know, listen, Sarah Jane, in two days, this is all going to be over with, or by January, we're all going to be back to work, and everything's going to be...' It's not going to be that way. This is a new norm," said McPherson.
 
Michael Locklear is a fellow in Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.
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