(Reuters) The number of U.S. households that reported getting emergency food from a food pantry almost doubled between 2007 and 2009, at the height of the recession, a government report said on Monday.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the number of households jumped to 5.6 from 3.9 million.
"Households also accessed additional assistance through USDA's 15 food and nutrition assistance programs," the article in the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) "Amber Waves" said.
The USDA oversees the government's food stamp program, also known as SNAP or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, for low-income families and other domestic feeding programs like school lunches.
In the 2009 fiscal year, "15.2 million households participated in SNAP in an average month, up from 12.7 million in FY 2008," the article said.
It said more than 50 million people, including at least 17 million children, lived in households uncertain of having or getting enough food at some point because of insufficient money or other material resources.