Dec 31, 2010

Food Emergency: Millions of Americans Are Heading to Foodbanks for the First Time in Their Lives

Food Line for the Holidays - Alternet:  Joan tells me over and over that hers is a good story that people need to hear. Unfortunately, for her and her family she is right.

Before moving to Shamong, NJ, Joan, her husband andAl four children, lived a well above average middle class life in a suburban Toledo, OH. They owned a single family home. She ran a home day care to supplement her husband'sHTML clipboard $80,000 plus income. He worked as a pipeline technician, a career he built over 26 years, lost 14 months ago and has not been able to reclaim. Two years ago he found work in New Jersey through relatives and the family moved.

Moving meant Joan's day care income was gone. It also meant a cut in her husband's salary to $40,000, and an increase in rent from $875 monthly mortgage payment, which included principle, interest, taxes and insurance, to a trailer park rent of $1,125.

Doing some quick math for Joan's situation reveals how the Great Recession has decimated middle class America: after taxes $40,000 is about $30,000 take home in New Jersey. Less $5,000 for carfare to get to work. Less $13,500 for rent. Utilities and phone, let's say $2,400; way too low, right? That leaves $14,100 for food, insurance, diapers, laundry, clothes and every other vagary lHTML clipboardife throws at a family of six. Since a decent family health care insurance is at least $9,000 per year, I'll bet they aren't making what's left of the COBRA payments.

Think you can feed yourself for $5 a day? would you buy? What would you forego? Fast food will eat up that whole amount in a single meal. If Joan spends every cent of her family's $14,100 of "discretionary" money on food she would have a $6.53 per person per day food budget.

Joan wasn't embarrassed toHTML clipboard talk about her situation with me. For whatever reason, she wanted people to know her story. But she was the exception. There were many others seeking a week's worth of food who didn't want to be noticed. They were still well shod. One middle aged gentleman, escorting his wife, was twitching. He didn't care to share his story.- Read on at Alternet