Soaring Food, Fuel Prices Pose Double Threat to Poor

A young boy enjoys a handful of rice distributed at a FFP feeding center.

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 4, 2011) –Workers from Food For The Poor often find families in developing countries who have not eaten for three or four days. Either there is no food available at all, or they have no money with which to buy even a small bag of rice. Now, because of soaring food and fuel costs, their food sources will be further threatened.

Floods, drought, and crop failures are pushing food costs to crisis proportions. The World Bank reports that food prices have gone up 29 percent in the last year. On top of that, rising oil prices are increasing transportation costs. U.S. consumers will feel it soon, and over the next eight to 10 months, but for the truly poor in developing countries, the impact will be immediate and have dire consequences, including possible death.

"This past year, we've experienced a lot of crises, and each one has further hurt the poor, but this convergence of rising costs threatens the provision of the most basic relief – the shipment of simple, life-sustaining foods," said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. "If you are helping the destitute, you must first start by providing food that will give them life and allow you to build from there. This will challenge all of us."


Americans spend about 9 percent of their salaries on food, but for those in developing countries who live on pennies a day, that percentage can be 80 to 90 percent. The impact on the truly poor can be devastating.

Food For The Poor can feed a child for $36 a year, but its ability to provide food efficiently to the most needy is threatened by double-digit percentage increases in food prices from the past year, as well as the forecast from suppliers that food prices will double or triple by the end of 2011. Shipping costs are forecast to increase 60 percent, further complicating relief actions.

"This volatile situation with the food and fuel prices will stretch our charity's ability to get food and other supplies where they are most needed," Mahfood said. "Everyone will feel the pinch, but no one more than the destitute. We are asking for everyone’s help in giving what they can to prevent more suffering. It is times such as this when we remember the importance of the widow's mites, and how she shared with the poor out of her own need."

A woman smiles as she receives food from a Food For The Poor distribution center in
Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Food For The Poor, the third-largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.

For more information, please visit

Kathy Skipper
Food For The Poor
Director of Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6614