Some families may resort to reusing diapers or not using soap in order to feed their families. Other families might skip or delay basic medical expenses to save money. Some may not be able to do basic things like washing dishes or doing the laundry.
Those are some of the findings in a new study released recently by Chicago-based Feeding America that focuses on the struggle to afford household goods, like soap, deodorant and diapers. Titled "In Short Supply: American Families Struggle to Secure Everyday Essentials," the study highlighted trade-offs families must make to avoid starving.
"During Hunger Action Month in September, we are reminded that 1 in 6 Americans struggles with hunger, but we often don't think about the additional hardship and emotional toll placed on these families who are unable to afford personal hygiene and basic household items," said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America.
"The lack of everyday essentials, such as toilet paper, toothpaste, soap or disposable diapers, may compromise the health and well-being of our at-risk neighbors, especially those who face food insecurity," he said.
In the national study, one of three low-income families reported that they could not afford basic household hygiene items. So many of them either do without or delay so that everyone can eat. In the two-phase study, more than 1,800 American families with children were interviewed. It was conducted in cooperation with Proctor & Gamble and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
For more details on the study or to find out how you can help or to get help, visit Feeding America's website.