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15 Percent of Mass Residents Can’t Afford Food

Monday, September 10, 2012


Nearly 1 in 7 Massachusetts residents reported being unable to afford food at times during the past 12 months, according to recent Gallup data.

The 14.9 percent of Commonwealth residents struggling to put food on the table was the second-lowest rate in New England behind the 11.9 percent of residents in Vermont.

After the severe drought the country experienced this year, those numbers may increase as food prices rise in the coming months.

More Children, Families Hungry in Worcester

While 2012's numbers are not markedly higher than in years past, Donna Dimiziano, director of The Mustard Seed, a Catholic Worker House in Worcester that provides food for the hungry and homeless, said there has been a definite increase in need, particularly among families, over the 28 years she has been involved with the organization.

"There are children in this neighborhood and parents who literally do not have food in their house this weekend."

Dimiziano said the Mustard Seed, located at 93 Piedmont Street, typically serves 150 hungry people each week, but that number increases to more than 200 toward the end of each month as money and food stamps run short.

"People are having a hard time even getting on food stamps," she said.

Meanwhile, the number of residents receiving food assistance is dwindling as recipients get cut off and are forced to turn to food banks and pantries like the Mustard Seed.

"They come every night to the soup kitchen in tears."

According to Dimiziano, ever-increasing rents and the bureaucratic paperwork required to register for food stamps are the two major factors driving more and more people to her table each day.

"Sometimes there's not enough food to feed everybody that comes through the food pantry," she said.

Soup Kitchens Struggling to Meet Need

The Mustard Seed does not receive any grant funding and survives solely on donations. On days when the patrons outpace the pantry's stores, Dimiziano is faced with the difficult task of choosing who gets to eat and who will spend another night going to bed hungry.

"We take everybody's name, and they have to live in the neighborhood," she said.

"Every food pantry is basically having to do that now."

What the increasing number of Mustard Seed regulars need, said Dimiziano, are advocates to help them navigate the often-difficult process of enrolling in food aid programs.

Donations of supermarket vouchers and vouchers for meat are increasingly prized, and the need for items that will make meals for families with young children is particularly acute.

"I hate to see kids hungry," said Dimiziano.


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Iron Mike Farquhar

This is a SAD story – but Americans were warned long ago...

Think back – which political party totally embraced using corn [food for animals and humans] as a fuel additive called ethanol?

Which political party was so incensed about 'belching smoke stacks' that they passed draconian laws and regulations – which drove the smokestacks [and the JOBS] to China?

Which political party's candidate told us in 2008 that under HIS plan 'fuel prices would necessarily skyrocket'? Did you not understand that when fuel prices skyrocket [diesel fuel more than doubled since then] – that the cost to farmers ALSO skyrockets?

Now try to recall your World History: which world leaders engineered mass starvations of their OWN people? Here's a hint – they all occurred in the 20th Century!

Harry Huckum

Read Iron Mike twice and let it sink in before you vote.

Iron MIke is 100% correct.

Now think about what will happen next on Beacon Hill. A new gas tax, with support from creepy people like Mary Keefe will make it even harder to feed your family.

Someone these ultra lefties don't understand the consequences of their actions, which is to make everyone poorer. Just one more step on the road to Socialism (Shared Misery)

Edward Saucier

Dizzy & Daffy are catapulting the propaganda again. Blaming laws and regulations for driving corporations to China and beyond is just plain stupid. It was greed - induced by those so called "Free Trade Agreements" among other things unrelated to regulations, in fact de-regulation was another factor. Greed is good as the corporatists say.

Iron Mike lies and Harry swears to it. Which political party tanks the economy whenever it gets in command? Dahh!

Harry Huckum

If you want greed look no further than the Chicago teachers union. They are going on strike even though they are among the highest paid teachers in the nation.

But that kind of greed is ok because it has the union label on it.

Iron Mike Farquhar

But Harry - GREED isn't the issue with the Chicago teachers [who start at $49K and average $71K - BEFORE benefits], CTU Prez Karen 'never missed a meal' Lewis says 'it's about R-E-S-P-E-C-t!' - and about not firing substandard teachers....

Don't you DARE judge a UNION TEACHER by the test scores of her/his pupils!!!

Harvey Beehive

Almost 50% of the kids in Chicago public schools don't graduate 12th grade, but 95% of the kids in Chicago private schools do graduate 12th grade. And guess what? The private school teachers make a lot less than their public school union counterparts and never go on strike. Unions. One of the great destroyers of our country...

Harry Huckum

Harvey, I need to lend you a movie. Agenda. Wearing down America. Have you seen it?

Iron Mike Farquhar

Folks - the Chicago Teacher strike is simple political theater.

Both Rahm Emanuel - the mayor, and Karen [never missed a meal] Lewis, Prez of the CTU, are ardent Democrats and ardent Obama supporters. This event is being staged so Obama can swoop in and settle it - probably with a little Federal CA$H, - i.e. YOUR TAX $$$$!

Those 400,000 kids, and their working [and non-working] parents are SKREWWED. Chicago has the highest IN-SCHOOL murder rate in the country, - and the lowest graduation rate. Many schools have day-care centers because of all the teen pregnancy.

Give Obama another 4 years - half the country will look like
Detriot, Philadelphia and Chicago.

Edward Saucier

Anyone relly interested in the Chicago Teachers Strike should go on the DemocracyNow! web site. It is the best news show in Worcester and it's on TV Ch. 13. Get the real dope on what's going on there and don't listen to the union hating dopes on this blog.

Iron Mike Farquhar

>> 'union hating dopes'

Name-calling already Ed? What do YOU call a union teacher making $72K/year - if only HALF her kids graduate?

I would call her INCOMPETENT! I'd call the whole school system INCOMPETENT. But then, that's the exact school system from which Obama selected Superintendent Arne Duncan to be his SecEducation.

400,000 kids are getting the UNION SHAFT in Chicago. Yet they fight to shut down the various charter schools that parents and churches set up. Why Ed? Is money more important to these UNION TEACHERS than kids who can read, write, do math, and know history?

Harry Huckum

Teachers unions represent teachers not students.

There is no one representing the students in Chicago or anywhere else.

Parents have been fooled into thinking the teachers unions care about the children.
Lenny Z the head of worcester teachers union admitted as much to me in a conversation I had with him at city hall one night.

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