27.7M poor Americans on food benefits

From the FT:

An escalating global food crisis could bring the problem of hunger home to the US and other developed countries.

Millions of poor Americans risk going hungry if food prices continue to rise and food agencies struggle to cope with rising costs, dwindling resources and a huge increase in demand.

Already more and more poor people in the US are turning to charity and government assistance as they struggle with rising food costs and soaring fuel bills. Even some stores are restricting bulk rice purchases as the grain reached a fresh high on Thursday.

Laurie True, executive director of the California Women Infants and Children Program Association, said local agencies were reporting a sharp increase in new enrolments. “That’s the canary in the coal mine,” she said. “These are people that don’t normally claim benefits.”

James Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, said the number of Americans on food stamps had reached 27.7m in January, the highest number since the programme began more than 40 years ago. The measure does not count all those in trouble as only about 65 per cent of those eligible for food stamps seek help.