May 2, 2008

The Frustrations of Growing Food Prices

by Sara Mazala, Social/Legal Case Manager.

It seems as if every time I open up the newspaper or watch the news, I am confronted with the increase in food costs and grocery stores that are beginning food rationing. This is very disturbing to me because of the need for food for our clients here at Bread for the City. Our clients here receive an average income of $7,000 annually. If they are lucky to have this, they only receive a maximum of $10 per month in food stamps.

Our clients are very smart, and they want to stretch their dollars and food stamps as far as they can go. If the cost of a bag of fresh carrots is $3.00, but the cost of 1 liter of soda and a bag of chips (which can last a long time), equals the same, a person of limited income is likely to go for the obvious and buy the bag of chips and liter of soda, which leads to a bigger problem!!!! When a person buys food with high quantities of sugar and fat, they can become victims of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. This leads to constant visits to the doctor.

With the growing costs in health care and insurance, it is very hard for vulnerable residents of DC to be able to afford frequent visits to health care providers and medications. Although in DC we are lucky to have DC Healthy Families and Alliance, not all prescriptions and medical tests are covered, adding extra costs to members of our community.

Therefore, I urge both the Federal and District government to realize that the growing costs of food is not just a problem within itself, but can lead to far greater medical problems for our neighbors here in the district. I also urge those in powers to do whatever is necessary to give greater quantities in food stamps or possibly giving farmers greater tax initiatives to either lower costs of fresh produce or give reduced prices to markets in low-income areas. Every little bit helps!

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