A parent lost her job, and her kids lost their home. Here’s what they had to do.

Imagine if the bulk of the supplies you’d been entrusted with and gave to others for hard work wound up in the trash. That’s essentially the reality for some people in the nation’s capital…

A parent lost her job, and her kids lost their home. Here’s what they had to do.

Imagine if the bulk of the supplies you’d been entrusted with and gave to others for hard work wound up in the trash. That’s essentially the reality for some people in the nation’s capital who are struggling to make ends meet.

Uninsured families like the T-Train family and Maria Gonzalez, both of whom contacted Washingtonian this week, must rely on food banks to make ends meet for a number of reasons, including being unable to cover basic living expenses because they receive no health insurance. Gonzalez lost her job as a secretary at a D.C. nonprofit last October, while the T-Train family and others like them are struggling to afford care for their disabled children who rely on outside services.

But how best to help people who have little or no income get back on their feet and — crucially — prevent them from suffering any more malnutrition and eventual hunger? Some believe that the answer is to get both government and private enterprise to collaborate in the formation of national disaster food banks, which would allow people to turn to the government for help in the form of meals, as it was during the massive food stamp cuts in 2012.

Here’s a list of the work that some folks are doing:

Food Bank of the District of Columbia

Back in March of this year, DC Hunger Solutions wrote an open letter to DC Food Bank, which was distributed to other local food banks in the region. Their focus was finding new sources of funding, rather than creating new food banks. The letter quoted DC Hunger Solutions Executive Director Chris Wills as saying:

“We cannot always depend on philanthropy to be there during a time of crisis,” Wills said. “We ask our friends, and our churches, and our businesses and our philanthropists to pay it forward.”

This organization has already had success getting local individuals and organizations involved with its hunger program; in 2017, some of them would send nonperishable food items and cash in exchange for free food.

Dr. Anne Levin, a pediatrician and University of Maryland College Park professor who works at Oley Valley Community Shelter, who is also involved with hunger efforts, said she’s seen the trend of poverty — and families staying in shelters — particularly in this region. That explains why so many people are so hard hit in her neighborhood alone:

“You only have a certain amount of attention when you’re making a big problem. And nobody wants to spend their resources trying to help low-income people.”

Add to this increased health insurance costs, which government does not subsidize, and poverty is the last thing we need here in D.C.’s capital city. Especially if we’re looking for longer-term solutions to this problem.

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