Feeding The Hungry During Rough Times

This week we look at the state of the social safety net in the United States. Given the forecast of a prolonged economic downturn, the country will have to rethink social services such as unemployment insurance, healthcare, and retirement.

Michael Flood, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, discusses the state of the food bank system. Flood says that although donations are up 33 percent, demand is up more than 40 percent, leaving a gap of need.

"We're seeing a lot of new people who would be considered solidly middle class several months ago but because of a job loss are finding themselves in line at a food pantry," he says. "In some instances some of these folks have been donors in the past and now ... they're finding that they're on the receiving end."

In some cases, he warns, food banks may have to turn away families or cut down on the volume of packages.

You can read listeners' ideas about how to fix the social safety net on our blog.

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