Two in three Northeast Ohio households seeking food assistance from a food bank have to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities, according to the Hunger America 2014 report.
The study was conducted by Three Northeast Ohio food banks in partnership with Feeding America, the nations's leading domestic hunger-relief organization.
"The results of this study show us that the face of hunger is one we might recognize," said Shirley Stineman, Board Chair of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
"Many of our neighbors who are seeking food assistance have jobs, raise families, work toward education and struggle with health problems, like all of us. Too often, our clients have to make difficult trade-offs to get enough food for their families. As we look ahead to Hunger Action Month this September, it is important to remember the critical work our food banks do every day, and how much more we can do together to solve hunger in Northeast Ohio."
Cheryl, a 54 year old who contacted the Greater Cleveland Food Bank's Help Center said "My husband went from $17/hour to $8/hour and over 40 hours per week to just 24 hours per week. All of our bills are behind or in collections. I work 33.5 hours a week at $7.95 per hour….we have neglected just to eat and pay the necessary bills."
In the past 12 months: two in three households report making choices between paying for food and paying for utilities, between paying for food and paying for transportation, even between food and medicine/medical care.
More than half of households reported using coping strategies like watering down food or drinks, also receiving help from friends or family.
The full nation report is available by clicking here.