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More seniors turning up at food banks
 Second Harvest Food Banks says it's because of financial concerns, job losses
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
The Food Bank says an increased demand is causing them to run out of food quicker than anticipated this year.
Courtesy of Karen Kasler
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The number of senior citizens reaching out to food pantries for help has grown by nearly 62 percent over the last year. Anti-hunger activists say they’re now struggling to help those people, in addition to the populations they have been serving during the Great Recession.

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Banks blames the economic crisis on Wall Street for the loss of financial security for many seniors who are retired and on fixed incomes. But she also says some seniors are dealing with what she calls the “Walton effect”, named for the 1970s TV drama about a multi-generational family living together during the Depression.

Hamler-Fugitt explains the "Walton effect."

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In the past four years, the unemployment rate for older adults has doubled, and nearly 18 percent of people 55 and over have been out of work for at least 99 weeks, compared to just over 8 percent of workers under 35. Hamler-Fugitt says food banks are now running so low on food, they’re being forced to ration it.

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