Free Brown Bag Lunch Numbers Skyrocket
The Baloney Sandwich Index is a local free brown bag lunch program that is hitting an all-time high. The program gives away sandwiches at a time when many find themselves out of a job.
Bobby Brashier is just one of the thousands who depend on free sack lunches to get through his day.
“It’s a lot of people,” he said. “You’ve got a lot of people and the line is all the way around the corner.”
The line is only getting longer. Local food bank director Ken Kupchick is one of the pioneers of the Baloney Sandwich Index program. He said as unemployment numbers go up so are the amount of those in need of sack lunches.
“The average for the year has been 3,900 sandwiches each month. In the month of October the number given out was 4,900.”
Kupchick said the ages come young and old for a sack lunch.
“We will sometimes see strollers in that line,” said Kupchick. “That breaks your heart.”
With SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits recently being slashed, Kupchick said the cut is going to take a toll on their food supply.
“SNAP benefits were reduced $11 per person in this month,” he said. “In the winter time softer weather is coming up and with that, people are getting a little hungry and needing a little more food.”
Kupchick said he feels for those who use the program.
“It`s humiliating, you have to stand in line; you get a simple sandwich, a simple dessert and a simple drink that`s all you get.”
However, Brashier said he’s unsure of how he would get by without it.
“I would imagine I would starve to death,” he said.
As the numbers continue to rise, Kupchick said only seven to ten percent of the users are homeless. Most of the users are those with low incomes or are unemployed.