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Western Pennsylvania impacted by increase in food insecurity

Western Pennsylvania impacted by increase in food insecurity
Western Pennsylvania impacted by increase in food insecurity 03:13

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Food insecurity is a term that means a person or family is worried about how they'll pay for food.  A new report released by Feeding America shows that the need is going up. 

Area food banks, as well as homeless shelters, are seeing these needs reflected.  A resident, who wanted to be identified as "MJ," is someone who has had to take advantage of the help that is available.  She's staying at the Salvation Army's Family Caring Center in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood.  

Reflecting on her initial need to ask for help for her and her daughter, she says, "It was difficult, honestly, to take that first step. You just have to humble yourself, basically, and really buckle down and be like, 'I really have to do this for me and my daughter.'"

At another location, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is seeing a need for help that's higher than ever.  According to the food insecurity report, every single demographic in Pennsylvania is suffering from food insecurity, simply meaning, in every demographic, for some, there is just not enough money to buy food in the personal or family budget.

"They are now forced to make choices -- whether to pay for utilities, pay for rent or pay for groceries, and those kind of challenges are causing them to make drastic decisions that are not supporting them to put food on the table," said Godfrey Bethea with the Pittsburgh food bank. 

One of the challenges for places like a food bank or the Salvation Army Family Caring Center is letting people know it's OK, even desirable, to ask for help.  

Sherry Rorison the director of the Salvation Army, has advice for those afraid to take the first step to ask for help. Rorison said that often holds people back from seeking help is that "it affects our pride." 

"'Am I not good enough,' right?" Rorison said. "Am I not good enough to provide for my family? What can I do better? What did I do wrong? But that's not true. It's a bigger picture, and food insecurity is a bigger picture than me or you."

If you need help, the bottom line is don't be afraid to ask. You can find resources below: 

SDOH Food Resources by bartosmadeline on Scribd
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