Southeast Missouri Food Bank and the Feeding America network said they are concerned about the added burden that the cold weather places upon low-income households, particularly in higher heating costs and fewer available resources for food.
The price of natural gas, used to heat over half of U.S. homes, jumped to a four-year high, and the cost of propane and kerosene is up 14 percent over the last 12 months. The full effects of this week's deep freeze and the early January polar vortex may not be felt fully until the heating bills come due next month.
The federal government provides some heating assistance to low-income families through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, targeting the most vulnerable: the disabled, elderly, and families with preschool-age children. Unfortunately, LIHEAP does not have funding to provide assistance to all who qualify, and funds now only currently reach 16 percent of eligible households.
"Each year, the Food Bank receives an increased number of phone calls with individuals looking for food assistant during the winter months. This winter, on average, we are taking 50-60 calls each week. These families are from all over the region." said Karen Green, Executive Director.
For more information on how you can support Southeast Missouri Food Bank's efforts in our region, please contact our office at 573-651-0400 or email@example.com.