The pandemic wreaked havoc on our nation’s economy. Businesses boarded up as owners watched their life savings swirling down the sink, leaving their former employees to search for new jobs that weren’t there. The only saving grace was in Donald Trump preventing the situation from getting worse than it could, and should, have been, but still, there was only so much one man could do.
The perception is that we’re finally coming out of this thing, and to an extent this is true. For now, anyway. But not everyone is seeing the light just yet. COVID-19 has left a lot of residual damage in its wake, and it continues to do so. Especially among children and the elderly who can’t find enough to eat.
Our nation’s food banks saw a surge in first-time-visitors when literally millions of citizens found themselves out of work for the first time ever. Some of them had made previous donations to the same food banks where they were now standing in line with a tray.
Even for those who have had the good fortune of being called back to work, the problem persists. Their previous unemployment statuses have left them way behind on rents, mortgages, car payments, and all of the things necessary for maintaining at least a status-quo life. They’re facing evictions, repossessions, and in far too many cases, total bankruptcy.
In certain cases, former employees have been offered their old jobs back at lesser pay while the business gets back up to snuff. Left with no other option, the employees who have opted to return have humbly accepted the unfair devaluation of their worth.
Now. Somewhere in the midst of these overwhelming financial woes, those hit the hardest still have to eat. A house or a meal? Hmmm… Or, a job but no transportation, which would, in turn, cause the heretofore mentioned job to be lost.
Brian Greene, CEO of the largest food bank in the Houston area said, “We have all been through an unimaginable year.” There were times during the pandemic when they were distributing an astounding one million pounds of groceries each and every day, for days on end.
Most of America’s food banks are members of the national network, Feeding America. The network’s data indicates that every food bank in the nation experienced overwhelming demands for groceries as compared to the same period in 2019.
Based on data from180 of the networks 200 food banks, the demand grew by 42% on average. Over the past three months during the “Biden announced” recovery, this figure has barely budged, only falling by an insignificant 1%. Yes. You read that correctly. 1%.
Feeding America’s CEO, Katie Fitzgerald said the network expects to collectively hand out over 6 billion meals by year’s end as compared to the 4.9 billion they distributed in 2019. “A lot of families who were living paycheck to paycheck before the pandemic were already experiencing food insecurity. Now, the level of insecurity for some has grown more extreme, when you see real hunger — mom skipping meals to feed the family,” she said.
Because of schools being shut down, millions of children who qualified for free lunch programs would have gone without had it not been for a local food bank, but even so, many still did, and some still do. The elderly, living in fear of more easily contracting the virus, avoided grocery stores. They too were living on delivered donated food or if they were capable of the journey, eating for free at the senior center with other older folks who were in hiding.
Silvia Baca Garcia, a 33-year-old mother of three from Phoenix who also cares for her baby granddaughter, said, “It got really ugly.” She said she scrambled everyday to find enough to keep their bellies full after being forced to live on unemployment benefits. “It had been a lot easier when my two boys were in school and getting their hot breakfasts and lunches everyday.”
The lesson here. Don’t buy into what you’re being fed from D.C. The US is not in economic recovery, and the hunger problem is not going away any time soon. It’s not even close. Food banks are still screaming for more supplies and more of America’s citizens are losing weight from their unintentional diets.
One might assume that the way to America’s heart is through its stomach, and they’re probably right. But when you have an egghead sitting in the White House who’s lost all touch with the reality in which his minions are being forced to live, you better plant a garden and buy some livestock. At least until Trump gets back in there.