Giving Thanks, One Donation at a Time
More than 36 million Americans struggled with hunger last year, compared to 35.5 million in 2006 and 33.2 million in 2000, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported last week. Given the current economic slump, that figure is undoubtedly higher this year.
The hunger-relief community is being squeezed on two fronts: rising food and energy costs, unemployment rates and home foreclosures are impairing Americans' ability to feed themselves and their families, and the credit crunch and increasing production and transportation costs are limiting food companies' ability to donate.
"I've never seen anything quite like this," says Jim Harmon, operations director of SeaShare, a Bainbridge Island, Wash., nonprofit hunger-relief organization that links seafood companies to food banks nationwide. He has worked in the seafood industry for 20 years and in hunger-relief for nine.
Most seafood companies are unable to donate outright this year, requiring reimbursement to pay down production costs, explains Harmon.
Despite the economic crisis, seafood companies are just as compassionate and eager to help, he says. The volume of product SeaShare has handled so far this year is on par with last year (SeaShare is the largest contributor of seafood to America's Second Harvest, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization). In addition to product, seafood companies are encouraged to donate services like transportation or cold storage or money to go toward processing unfinished product.
As we enjoy Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, let's remember that more than 12 percent of Americans struggle just to put food on the table. Do your part by reaching out to SeaShare and donating product, services or money to help prevent hunger.