Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Americans are going hungry - too.
”The young man, wearing a shirt and a tie, turned up just as the pantry operated by an Iowa food bank was closing for the night. He knew it was after-hours. That’s why he was there. He kept his gaze downward as he told the woman from the food bank that he had lost his job, had a wife and kids and was too embarrassed and ashamed to stand in line to receive a bag of groceries that hopefully would feed his family for a week. “I have a master’s degree. I shouldn’t have to do this, he said.”
That’s the stark reality that America is facing today, as more and more new faces were standing in line in food banks. Some of them, not looking anyone else in the eye, hoping not to be recognized by friends or neighbors.
The bitter irony for some of them was that, once, they had contributed to their local food bank. Now its them who needed its help.
Sure, these people do not fit the stereotype of those who would likely come to a pantry, a shelter or a kitchen. But a lost job, an unexpected medical expense, a utility bill or difficulty paying the rent or mortgage - especially during this period of high food prices can push people into that line.
Right now, an estimated 36.2 million people struggled with some form of hunger in the US alone or, to use the government term, “food insecurity.”
We always viewed Americans to be self sufficient. But now more and more people with jobs, with educations, but with diminished opportunities, resources and hope – were struggling.
Many of them never thought in their life that they have to come to a food pantry. Yet sadly the line grows steadily each day.
Guys, if its any consolation to you, we also have so many hungry people here. But in contrast, we don’t have a food bank. We don’t have a pantry to run to. We are left to fend for ourselves.
That, is even more pitiful.