News is grim for latest statistics in Yuma County
Once again, Yuma County leads another list, and the news is grim.
Our county is now number one in the state for food insecurity, according to the latest numbers from Feeding America. According to the statistics, which are based off of census numbers, 27.3 percent of our residents – 52,950 people – do not know where their next meal will come from, a disturbing thought.
The numbers for children show a slight improvement. In the county, 42.7 percent – 23,420 children – under the age of 18 are also food insecure, which is a little better than the previous number of 42.9 percent.
The Yuma Community Food Bank also reports that on May 15, they served a record number of people – 480 families, breaking their previous record set in 2011.
In fact, the food bank has been serving 2,600 people a month, a staggering number.
Mike Ivers, president and CEO of the food bank, calls the latest report, "truly scary."
The latest statistics join other grim ones for Yuma, including the highest unemployment in the nation.
The numbers go hand in hand – as unemployment stays high, the demand on agencies such as the Yuma Community Food Bank also continues to climb.
Obviously, the problem is staggering, and that’s only a look at one agency. We’ve also heard reports that other agencies are struggling to meet the needs of the population here.
Take a moment and imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. Money is tight, and you have to keep a roof over your family, pay the electric and water bills, and still, somehow, find a way to feed your children. And every once in a while, there’s a curveball. Someone gets sick and needs medicine. The car breaks down. A child outgrows their clothes. How do you stretch that money when it’s very limited, or you can’t find a new job?
Agencies like the food bank work hard to fill those gaps for those who desperately need that assistance, relying on the support of the community, as well as grants and partnerships. In 2012 alone, they distributed nearly 11 million pounds of food, six million of which was produce, thanks to relationships with local farmers and growers.
The food bank is waging a war on hunger here, and they are in desperate need of support.
Right now, they are working on raising $1.5 million in a capital campaign called Step Up to the Plate, to help meet the community’s needs.
Individuals and groups can donate in a variety of ways, including the match donor program, business donations, community donations, Step Up to the Plate partners, and the Fill Your Plate Club, which calls for volunteers to help pack boxes and help with tasks around the food bank.
To learn more or to donate, call 343-1243. In a situation like this, literally every penny counts.