A Growing Number of Seniors, Kids and Working Families Don't Have Enough to Eat
TASK patrons line up outside our Escher Street dining room before lunch service begins.
The United States’ inflation rate recently hit a new high. The last year the country experienced inflation this severe was in 1982, the year TASK first opened its doors.
Today, TASK faces a hunger crisis not unlike the kind that we faced 40 years ago. Preceded by the first global pandemic of our lifetimes- during which TASK expanded its reach to 36 meal sites and increased meal production by roughly double our pre-pandemic rate-conflict in Europe, supply chain issues and new COVID variants have compounded the problem for so many.
The record inflation we’re experiencing costs the average household $327 more each month. Gas prices have surged to hover around $5 a gallon, with predictions they will rise to $6 a gallon by August. The cost of food today, on average, is 8.8 percent higher than it was a year ago, with prices continuing to rise. In addition, supply chain issues have made food availability unpredictable, which is felt even more sharply in food deserts like Trenton.
In recent months, TASK has seen a significant increase in the number of children in our Escher Street dining room. Sadly, we expect to see more as pandemic-relief SNAPbenefits are set to end, putting low-income families on track to lose about $82 per month.
Seniors are being disproportionately impacted as well. For those receiving the minimum snap benefit, their monthly allotment will decrease from $250 to $20 a month.
Finding an affordable home in the Garden State has never been more difficult. A two-bedroom apartment in Trenton—where the vast majority of residents rent—currently costs $1,613 a month, or nearly $ 20,000 a year. Meanwhile, a minimum wage job pays $27,040 annually. It’s easy to understand why experts worry about an impending”hunger cliff” that could affect millions nationwide.
Today, across the Greater Mercer County area, more and more folks are lining up outside our main dining room in Trenton and at many of our community meal sites. Three-quarters of the 8,000 meals we prepare each week benefit residents in the City of Trenton, where 75 percent of Mercer County’s homeless population lives. We also serve places where hunger is more hidden, like Princeton, East Windsor, Ewing, and evenMorrisville, PA.
In our 40 years, TASK has persevered through natural disasters, recessions, and, most recently, a global pandemic. We are steadfast in our commitment to the people of theTrenton area. With your support, we will continue to lead the charge to fight the new hunger crisis facing our neighbors. Together, we can—and will—work tirelessly to turn hunger into hope.
Tag: Donating - Featured - Date Posted: Jun 1, 2022 - Author: Trenton Soup Kitchen