Food Bank Sees Increase in Need

Feb 6, 2010

A record number of Miami Valley residents are seeking help from the food bank because of the recession and the rise in unemployment.

The Foodbank in Dayton and Feed America, a national hunger-relief charity, released a study that shows for the first time the connection between the recent economy and the growing demand for food assistance. Linda Roepkin is the Assistant Director of the Foodbank. She says that the organization is serving about 80,000, and that one in 10 people are in need.

"These are people that are your next door neighbors, the person that rings up your groceries, your bank teller, someone your chlid goes to school with. It's people we all know," says Roepkin.

Roepkin says it's a 25% increase from past years. And she's it's not a surprise, considering the economic challenges Dayton faces. The study also found that some are having to make difficult decisions. For example nearly one in three people have to choose between food and paying for medication.

"People are really struggling to make ends meet, and are sacrificing in one area, and often times that sacrifice is food," says Roepkin.

The Dayton Foodbank falls in line with the national trend. Across the country, more and more people are relying on hunger relief charities. Roepkin says while she's optimistic that things will get better, she says in the short term, the Foodbank is expecting more of the same.

"I think we're starting to see hope on the horizon in the Miami Valley, but those jobs are skilled. It's going to take a while and it's certainly not going to happen over night," says Roepkin.

The good news is that the the Foodbank is ready to meet the need. Roepkin says donors have continued to support the non profit organization. She adds that federal stimulus money has also helped the program.