Saturday, March 31, 2012
Rice, noodles, tomato paste and soup
• Our average HHI is nearly 30% higher than the rest of the state
• Our homes are worth, on average, 40% more than those across the rest of the state
• Requests for aid from our local food pantry were up a staggering 22% in 2011. Last year 50,000 people were served by the food pantry that is open 2 days/week in the basement of our Methodist church.
My neighbors are still suffering. And, statistically speaking, yours probably are, too. This Recession and the sluggish recovery have been brutal on middle class families. A lot of folks are under-employed, working at part-time jobs that help them make ends meet but leave them without benefits, and so they are paying more than ever for prescriptions and trips to the doctor and dentist. Add in escalating gas prices, and you can see why they are turning to food banks for help.
History tells us that in November and December, when people are filled with the holiday spirit, food pantry shelves are full. After the new year, contributions wane and then spike in time for Easter (now). Then, over the summer, the need becomes more critical. Especially because classes are over and kids won't be getting their free school lunches.
So while I'm glad that I visited our local food pantry and dropped off a bag of Rice-a-Roni, Kraft Macroni and Cheese, Campbell's soup and generic tomato paste, I have to remember to keep at it throughout the summer. (And maybe remember to add some vegetables!)
And, if helping the hungry in your hometown is something that interests you, here's a link that will lead you to the food pantry nearest you.