KPCC News In Brief

Food bank president hopes Obama addresses hunger

Churches and charities are straining to keep up with increasing numbers of people who need help feeding themselves and their families. KPCC’s Debra Baer reports that the head of one of the region’s largest food banks harbors high hopes for tomorrow’s inaugural address.

Debra Baer: The Food Bank of Southern California distributes about half a million pounds of food a day from its Long Beach warehouse to almost 700 churches and charities. Food bank president John Knapp says that amount isn’t enough to keep pace with a near 40 percent increase in requests for help this winter. He says he hopes President-elect Barack Obama will focus the nation’s attention on the problem.

John Knapp: “I hope in his inaugural address he mentions the word ‘hunger’ because very few people mention the word ‘hunger.’ It’s a national disgrace. I believe it’s the biggest problem facing our country. The wars are terrible, foreclosures are terrible, but if you can’t eat, everything literally falls apart.”

Knapp says Obama has already done something no other recent president-elect has done. He urged his election campaign volunteers to help out their local food banks. Close to 500 have lent a hand to sort food at the regional facility in Long Beach.

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January 2009

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