“The situation here is pretty dire,” said Kathy Fisher of the Coalition Against Hunger, an advocacy group. “Hunger and poverty go hand in hand. The fact is that we are the poorest big city in the nation. That is a problem here.”
One in four residents in the city lives in poverty. For children, the rate is 37 percent, or more than one in three.
More than one in 10 residents live in so-called “deep poverty,” or below half the federal poverty rate, which is now defined as just over $24,000 in annual income for a family of four.
As a result, food insecurity, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture determines largely through household surveys, is also a big problem in Philadelphia.
The federal school lunch and breakfast programs help address this. “They are critical programs,” said Fisher.