The real number is close to 500 food pantries. Nationally, according to Feeding America, the number is 33,500 pantries. Those of us who are fortunate enough to not need food assistance are often quite unaware of this large network of food banks and pantries working every day to help feed the over 49 million Americans who live in food insecure households (data from 2008).
As Berner writes, “If we wish to maintain the government responsibility to alleviate hunger in our country, benefits for eligible citizens must be increased or food assistance nonprofits need more government support. Otherwise we should face the fact that as an undeclared public policy, our society tolerates hunger.”