Times are tough. I don’t have to tell you that. Unemployment is high, consumer spending is low, and things aren’t looking much better in the short term. And Americans hope for recovery from the recession, many working families are hopeful that the worst is past them. Sadly, for one in five Americans an economic recovery is less important than daily survival, as these same individuals struggle to feed themselves and their families.

Recently Gallup data shows that for a staggering 18 percent of Americans there have been times over the past year when they could not afford to put food on the table. This number is slightly lower than it was in September 2009, despite persistently high unemployment levels and record participation in the food stamp program.

These hunger numbers do represent a decline from the 2009 figures. The decline is likely due to an increase in Federal food stamp disbursements through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which boosted monthly benefits for recipients by 13.6 percent in April 2009, and not because the American public is any better off.

Millions of families depend on these Federal benefits just to make ends meet. And the effects are widespread, as these hunger issues aren’t just a symptom of inner city or poor rural life anymore. And as unemployment figures continue to push double-digit numbers throughout the country, things aren’t looking up anytime soon for families facing their fears of fewer meals and empty stomachs.  So, while a new Congress may be reluctant to extend these types of social welfare programs as they also try to cut the deficit, experts hope the issue of child nutrition and food insecurity can generate bipartisan support.

As the economy continues its halting recovery and Americans’ confidence in their ability to feed their own families diminishes, confidence in the benefits of bankruptcy continues to rise. If you’re finding your own economic cupboard is bare due to credit card debt, mounting mortgage payments, or unexpected medical bills, it may be time to take your financial future into your own hands.

If you are a Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy and have questions regarding your eligibility or regarding any other part of the process, please contact me at [email protected] or (248) 246-6536 to schedule a free, initial consultation.