Alert
Close

Last chance – give now. Before 2014 ends, help struggling seniors. Donate

Highlights

Open

You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

Contests and
Sweeps

$10,000 Winter Escapes Sweepstakes

Beat the cold and cozy up to a chance of winning $10,000! See official rules.

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular
articles

Viewed

Going Hungry in America

What Happened to the Food Surplus?

The third in a five-part special report

Will the new farm bill help?

The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008—the farm bill passed on June 19—may help get commodities flowing to food banks again soon. Among other things, it increases funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program from $140 million in 2008 to $250 million in 2009. And thanks to a provision that releases $50 million in emergency funding even before the law goes into effect Oct. 1, food banks around the country are starting to see increasing variety in the surplus commodities they receive.

The Vermont Foodbank, for example, has recently been getting shipments of frozen chicken. “That’s something we haven’t seen in a long time, and it means a lot,” O’Brien says.

The new farm bill doesn’t go as far as many advocates for the hungry would like. On the plus side, it reauthorizes the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which provides monthly food boxes to millions of needy people, the majority of them older Americans. That’s especially welcome news because the program had been targeted for elimination by the Bush administration for three consecutive years.

But while the money allocated to the Emergency Food Assistance Program is guaranteed over the life of the bill, the CSFP budget will continue to come up for review every year. Supporters of the program hope that it will eventually be given a permanent budget and the resources it needs to meet the growing needs of low-income older Americans.

But that doesn’t change the underlying forces that are transforming the global food economy. With growing demand from emerging economies, analysts predict, pressure on supply will last well into the future, putting upward pressure on prices. Fuel and transportation costs are likely to remain high, and the nation’s economic woes portend a continuing weak dollar, at least in the near term.

“We’re really looking at a fundamentally changed food environment,” O’Brien says.

His counterparts at other food banks agree. As David Goodman of the Redwood Empire Food Bank in , puts it: “We’ve got a world of committed volunteers. We’ve got funding. The real issue is going to be getting food.”

As food banks, meal programs and other food assistance organizations look to the future, experts say, they will have to look for new and innovative ways to keep millions of Americans from going hungry. 

Peter Jaret is a freelance writer in Petaluma, Calif.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Life insurance: you are covered rain or shine

Exclusive annuities for members from AARP Lifetime Income Program from New York Life.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Homeowners Insurance
Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.