Food for thought

  • Buying in bulk at Costco.

    Molly Riley/Reuters

As 2009 limps to a close, Westerners have plenty of reasons to want to ring in a new -- and perhaps better -- year. With the economy lagging, folks are trimming budgets, shopping like Scrooge, and turning to federal food programs for a little extra help to put a holiday ham on the table.

Number of job seekers in Oregon in 2009; 223,000 more than 2008

6 Percent increase in Costco sales in November, as more consumers buy in bulk

6.1 Percent decrease in November sales at Macy's, despite strong sales on Black Friday.

1.5 to 2.5
Expected overall percent increase in food prices from 2008 to 2009

2,714 Record number of visitors to the Northwest Harvest food bank in Seattle the Monday before Thanksgiving

1.45 million Number of Washington residents who visited a food bank more than five times in 2009

2,966,068 Number of Western households using food stamps as of August 2009

36.7 Average percent increase in food stamp use in Western households since August 2008

3 Western states (Colorado, Idaho and Utah) with more than 10 counties whose food stamp use has increased by more than 70 percent since 2007

253 Percent increase in food stamp use in Summit County, Utah, since 2007

$101.52 Average monthly food stamp benefit per person nationwide in 2008

$54.95 Cost of an 8-pounder from the HoneyBaked Ham Store ... same as last year.

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