right now: food banks are in need
I’m struck by the number of news articles already talking about the increasing demand for the services of food banks around the country. Just do a news article search on “food bank” and see for yourself. Some examples:
Nationally: New USDA Statistics Highlight Growing Hunger Crisis in the U.S.; Food pantries facing double whammy of greater need, fewer donors; and 50 percent more U.S. kids went hungry in 2007; use of emergency food banks surges this year
Back in the Bay Area, our old stomping grounds: Crisis impacts local food banks.
Here in Seattle, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reports, “Donations Drop, Demand Soars At Food Bank In Everett.” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer printed an article on Novemer 11, entitled “City food banks see need rise as economy sours,” which featured information on some of the city’s local food banks—like the University District Food Bank and the West Seattle Food Bank—noting that demand is up as much as 20% for many of these providers. Some local bloggers are also highlighting the need at our local food banks.
This snippet from an article in the Tucson Citizen really caught my eye:
Social service officials are reporting a new phenomenon: Of the several hundred clients each month seeking help with food, rent or utilities at The Salvation Army, about 50 percent are new. More and more are working class and middle class, said spokeswoman Tamara McElwee.
That trend holds true at the food bank, too.
Carnegie said it is not unusual to see an engineer in the lines of people waiting for food boxes.
“We’re seeing more people in construction and the home (building) industry needing more help because they have lost their jobs,” McElwee said. “We are seeing a lot more families, those working two jobs and have been laid off, who can’t make their mortgage payments and are losing their cars.”
Carnegie added, “The number of seniors I see astounds me.”
At Child & Family Resources, Inc., which operates a holiday Adopt-a-Family program among its services, Development Director Colleen Bagnall said “People are humble and embarrassed. They say, ‘I used to adopt a family and now I’m on your list.’ It’s humiliating.”
It saddens me that a feeling of humiliation is associated with the act of asking for assistance, though I can’t say I wouldn’t feel exactly the same. But seriously, what kind of society are we if we don’t welcome the opportunity to be our brother’s or sister’s keeper? I would hope that if there is true need in our country, those who find themselves in a position to help would do so gladly.
So what can we do to help? Well, I’m a big believer that every little bit counts…
It’s time for the second fishes+loaves dinner, a bit earlier than we expected. It’ll be happening next week as the “thanksgiving” edition to raise funds for Northwest Harvest. Guests have been invited and the menu is almost set… details to come.
In the meantime, do you know of any organizations in your neighborhood that are doing some great things but could use a helping hand? Please share.