There is a misconception that those who struggle with hunger are perhaps not trying hard enough to get back on their feet. In fact, it’s mostly the opposite: no matter what some families seem to do, they cannot catch up.

Much of this is due to the cost of living in the United States continuing to increase. Here is a chart created by the 2019 United Way ALICE Project detailing a “household survival budget” in Emmet County.

Household Survival Chart

According to United Way, the household survival budget reflects the bare minimum that a household needs to live and work in today’s economy. It does not include savings for emergencies, college, or future goals.

These costs were well above the Federal Poverty Level of $12,060 for a single adult and $24,600 for a family of four. Family costs increased by 26 percent statewide from 2010 to 2017, compared to 12 percent inflation nationally.

Looking at these numbers, it makes sense why even someone holding two jobs is unable to provide for their family. And if you add anything else into the mix–a tragic accident, insulin prescriptions, a cancer diagnosis, or a totaled car–a household’s entire future could be thrown into disarray.

We firmly believe that no one should have to choose between keeping the lights on or going hungry. By offering supplemental food, we not only provide families with an essential need but also allow them to redistribute their funds to other expenses. In these ways, you can be confident that what we do is bettering our community.

Jessyca Stoepker | October 30, 2019