This is that time of year when newspapers bother to write about how there are hungry people in America. But this year is special. As the recession drags on for the non-1%, cuts in Food Stamps have completely swamped the capacity of food banks and other non-government assistance. Meanwhile pending cuts in unemployment compensation and even more cuts in Food Stamps and other assistance programs mean things will get much worse for millions of invisible Americans.
Have you heard about the Nov. 1 "Hunger Cliff?" On November 1 the Food Stamp program was cut. Millions of Americans are out of work, unemployment benefits have run out (and been cut), winter is arriving in force, but Congress allowed a temporary, recession-boosted increase in the Food Stamp program to run out! $5 billion in urgently-needed assistance just went away.
Terrance Heath told the story in 47 Million Americans Are Going Over the "Hunger Cliff," writing "Millions of Americans will plunge over the "Hunger Cliff" tomorrow, when $5 billion in cut to food stamps go into effect tomorrow. While Congress negotiates even more cuts, millions of Americans will face negotiating where their next meal will come from."
Food Banks Swamped
The "Hunger Cliff" has hit people hard. The cuts mean people just can't get enough to eat. Hungry people are swamping the food banks.
A few stories are in the media, like MSNBC's After the hunger cliff, a stark Thanksgiving...
"Food pantries around the country are reporting a precipitous rise in the number of new visitors as people who were previously able to make do on food stamps get hit with cuts they can't afford. It will be a long time before the effect of the cuts can be accurately quantified, but the raw numbers currently being reported are suggestive. Previously, many food stamp recipients were able to stretch their benefits until the third week of the month. Since November 1, they have been visiting pantries earlier, and in greater numbers."
Big corporate media might not care much, but local headlines from around the country can't ignore what is happening:
NY area: Annual Hunger Report Shows Bump In Food Pantry Visits
Tampa, FL area: Pinellas food pantry struggling to keep shelves stocked
Cedar Rapids, IA area: Food Pantry Demand Up as Benefit Cuts Take Hold
Canton, OH area: Local food pantries seeing need in holiday season- Advertisement -
Savannah GA area: Six food pantries in Effingham report growing need
Kansas City area: One area pantry says it has no food to give
San Francisco area: Holiday Rush Sets Record At SF Food Pantry