Saturday, April 16, 2016

21st Century Breadline.

Table
We are in an age of the 21st Century Breadline. There are so many people hurting that there has to be mobile food banks. This is America today, it's not the land of opportunity it use to be 20 or even 30 years ago. We will have a generation that only knows how to stand in line and hope there is enough for them when they get to the front of it.

According to the US Census there are 46.7 million people living in poverty in America at this time, and of those 15.5 million were children. That means that there are almost 50 million people in America that don't know, or aren't sure where their next meal is coming from tonight. That means there are children right now who's only meal might have been the sub par school lunch they had today.

I spent today at a mobile food bank that was set up in a church parking lot. As I was standing in line I started to think about those breadlines from the Great Depression. I started to think about all the advancements we have made as a nation and realized that we haven't really gotten as far as we think we have from the Great Depression. We haven't really moved past the breadlines. We have just allowed them to fade into the background of our apathetic society. They have changed from just handing out some bread and soup, to being a regular source of food for a lot of families. What's worse is that a lot of food banks now limit how often a family can access it. In Clarkston Washington the Asotin County Food Bank only allows someone to access their services once every 60 days. In Lewiston Idaho, just across the river from Clarkston, you are only able to access their services once every 90 days. And you have to have proof of residency or they won't help you at all.

According to Feeding America,
  • Based on annual income, 72 percent of all Feeding America client households live at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty line.
  • The overall national poverty rate according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure is 15.3 percent, as compared with the official poverty rate of 14.8 percent.[ii]
  • Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, there are 48.4 million people living in poverty, nearly 2 million more than are represented by the official poverty measure (46.7 million).
That's a lot of people going hungry in a country that has a GDP of almost 18 billion dollars. I think the thing that really caught me the most was that there really wasn't a segment of life that wasn't being touched by food insecurity. There were Native Americans here, and the young, the old, and everyone in between. There were a lot of disabled individuals there, and there were a lot of elderly there as well. Although the LC Valley tends to skew older as there are a large percentage of retirees here. 

So I think the time has come that we start to focusing on ways to reduce and then eliminate hunger in not only America, but world wide. There has to be a solution out there, and we just haven't found it yet. However I think if we were to really look at the problem from a scientific and logical point of view we could find the solution to this issue. 

Hey make sure you are making donations to your local food bank, and if you see someone struggling see if you can help them. One of the things that happened there was there was a lady with an oxygen tank and a walker. I helped her get to the front of the line by helping her move her oxygen tank. Remember one kind act could save a life!