Monday, September 20, 2010

Hunger Action Month and the Poverty Rate

09/19/2010 06:05 PM

Latest poverty numbers hit home in the Southern Tier

By: Carmen Perez

September is Hunger Action Month and it appears the problem is more widespread than it has been in many years. This past Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau announced some startling numbers showing that in 2009, the poverty rate was 14.3 percent, the highest it has been since 1994. Our Carmen Perez has the story behind those numbers and the people fighting hard against poverty.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Chloe Galusha is just one-years-old and more often than not her mother Kimberly wonders how she will feed her through the end of every month.

Kimberly Galusha, a Binghamton resident said, "Food stamps run low like we only get 400 something a month and by the time the end of the month comes they are gone because she is eating now and the food goes quick."

More and more families like Chloe's are finding it tougher to spread their income and are having to turn to food pantries and soup kitchens for help.

Right now more than forty-three and a half million people live below the poverty line and the CHOW pantry in Broome County has seen a 23 percent increase in just the last year.

Ed Blaine, CHOW director said, "A lot of people are one damaging bill away from coming to pantry or going to a soup kitchen. We've had a lot of first time people coming to our pantries and they are a little bit ashamed, they are a little bit nervous saying you know I have never had to do this."

Most volunteers agree that the faces of the people they are serving are changing.

"The money is not stretching far enough so they don't have enough to meet that quota from pay check to pay check," said Geraldine Ford.

Geraldine Ford, affectionately known to the people in her soup kitchen as Mother Ford, has made it her mission to make sure that every person who comes in is able to make it to their next meal.

Geraldine Ford, of the Carroll Street Ministries said, "They came in hungry but they are not leaving hungry."

According to the latest numbers, one in five children are growing up in poverty.

Shaniya Marshall, a Binghamton resident said, "My mom would do anything for us to provide the food and shelter we need."

Providing may be getting harder for families to do, as reports indicate that the problem of poverty isn't going away, but is actually growing.

"Wake up, because sooner or later it is going to come to your doorstep because things aint getting that much better," said Ford.

"Food prices gas prices everything is going up how do you expect people to live? I mean it is hard," said Galusha.

Theirs is a frustration shared by many Americans who are ready and waiting for relief.

If you would like more information about area food pantries, soup kitchens or how to donate to organizations like CHOW, visit

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