Saturday, December 08, 2007

'Tis the Season but The Food Shelves are Bare

The view from across the pond is interesting. There is a lot about America that, of course, needs fixing. At the same time, there is a lot about our society which, while there is miles of room for improvement, makes me think twice (for instance, a few weeks ago, there was an article about Brits pulling out their own teeth rather than trust the National Health Dentists...Health Care in the U.S. is going to require careful engineering as we try to fix it.)

But there are a few things which I find completely intolerable and an article which ran in Saturday's Washington Post is one of the ultimate cases in point:

Cupboards Are Bare at Food Banks

Drops in Donations and Farm Surplus Cause Area Charities to Run Short

Area food banks are experiencing a critical shortage of supplies as donations drop dramatically and as demand for free and discounted food continues to soar.

A combination of strong farm sales overseas, consolidation and tightening of supply chains by supermarkets, and a decline in Government assistance have created a perfect storm which has lead to the shortage of help for those who need it most.

Many of these families, according to sources quoted in the Post article, are the working poor...meaning that they have jobs and are doing their level best to keep their heads above water...but it's not working.

And, according to the Post, condiditions are getting worse:
At the same time, economic factors have conspired to force many more people toward the brink of hunger. Calls to the food bank's Hunger Lifeline are up about 37 percent from last year...

"Good, working people are having a harder time making ends meet," said Kerrie Wilson, executive director of Reston Interfaith. "So far, we've not had to turn folks away, but we have limited the number of times we'll help someone. . . . You do less for more."

It is important, of course, that we work hard to ensure that leadership in this country is changed, but at the same time, it's not a bad idea to think about taking a page from the Republican play book ( in one respect, at least, WE can practice what THEY preach ) charity begins at home- and a gift of money or food to the local food bank would be a great way to celebrate the season.

Okay, I'm climbing off my soapbox now, and, just to keep ME honest, next time you see me, don't forget to ask if I have practiced what I was preaching.

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