Lee Heidhues 7.20.2022
Every person has a human right to have food. It’s a basic human right.
It’s regrettable that the AP refers to people who need food to survive as receiving “handouts”.
It’s a sign of disrespect towards the millions of Americans who are overwhelmed by the Capitalist system which rewards the wealthy and denigrates the vast majority less fortunate.
San Francisco is no stranger to the Food Bank. The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank serves thousands of residents each week. The citizens of all ages who are participants in the program would take exception to being labeled a recipient of “handouts”.
Excerpted from AP via The People’s World 7.18.2022
Long lines are back at food banks around the U.S. as working Americans overwhelmed by inflation turn to handouts to help feed their families.
With gas prices soaring along with grocery costs, many people are seeking charitable food for the first time, and more are arriving on foot.
Distribution by the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Northern California has ticked up since hitting a pandemic low at the beginning of this year, increasing from 890 households served on the third Friday in January to 1,410 households on the third Friday in June, said marketing director Michael Altfest.
Inflation in the U.S. is at a 40-year high and gas prices have been surging since April 2020, with the average cost nationwide briefly hitting $5 a gallon in June. Rapidly rising rents and an end to federal COVID-19 relief have also taken a financial toll.
The surge in food prices comes after state governments ended COVID-19 disaster declarations that temporarily allowed increased benefits under SNAP, the federal food stamp program covering some 40 million Americans.
The food banks, which had started to see some relief as people returned to work after pandemic shutdowns, are struggling to meet the latest need even as federal programs provide less food to distribute, grocery store donations wane and cash gifts don’t go nearly as far.
Tomasina John was among hundreds of families lined up in several lanes of cars that went around the block one recent day outside St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix. John said her family had never visited a food bank before because her husband had easily supported her and their four children with his construction work.
“But it’s really impossible to get by now without some help,” said John, who traveled with a neighbor to share gas costs as they idled under a scorching desert sun. “The prices are way too high.”
Jesus Pascual was also in the queue.
“It’s a real struggle,” said Pascual, a janitor who estimated he spends several hundred dollars a month on groceries for him, his wife, and their five children aged 11 to 19.