High Gas Prices and Hunger

High gas prices over the past few years have a higher impact on families who are already at risk. A first-hand account from one executive director makes the point better than any statistics can.

Tina Osso, executive director of Shared Harvest Foodbank in Fairfield shared this story:

"You can connect the increases in gas prices with the increases in the lines at our food pantries. I drove by the station where I fuel one morning and gas was $2.82 a gallon. I was running late so I thought I'd stop and fuel on my way to a meeting two hours later. When I did stop the price had risen to $3.15. I grumbled about the price but fueled and paid. A woman came in counting her change. She had enough to buy $4.49 worth of gas.

"I heard her tell the cashier that she would not be paid until Friday and did not know how she was going to feed her kids since she put the last money she had in her car to get to work. I gave her my card and told her to call me which she did later that afternoon. During our conversation I gave her the phone number to one of our food pantries close to where she lives. She had never been to a food pantry before and never thought she would need to use a charity to help her make ends meet. She is a single mom with two children, works a low-wage job and her ex-husband has not paid child support in seven months. But up until now she had been able to scrape by.

"I was struck by the difference between this woman and myself. I grumbled at the price jump in gas over a two-hour period, but it did not cause me anything more than a flash of frustration at not having stopped earlier. I knew there were groceries in my house, my bills were paid and I still had money in my wallet. She put gas in her car and worried how she was going to feed her children since it took every cent she had.

"This woman is typical of the people who are standing in the ever-increasing food lines at our pantries. Twenty-six percent of the folks have never utilized a food pantry before - and requests for help have increased 30 percent over the past few months.

"The generosity of GCF donors will not be known to this woman - and probably thousands like her - but I wanted you to ‘meet her’ and to thank you for her. We could not do it without your support.”

Shared Harvest received an emergency grant for food from GCF in 2007.

Read more about Shared Harvest.

May 2010



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