This is a very interesting yet ominous article from Reuters about the current food bank situation in these United States. As a result of the drought this summer the Federal government ended up buying less food than normal, and because this excess food is used to provide assistance to the poor in many cases, there simply may not be enough to go around. This sets up a potentially tragic situation as we head into 2013, and is likely to bring heightened social unrest to our shores as I outlined in my recent article The Global Spring.
The worst U.S. drought in more than half a century has weakened the safety net for the 50 million Americans who struggle to get enough to eat, and the nation’s food banks are raising the alarm as the holiday season gets into full swing.
Executives at major food banks across the United States worry they will not be able to keep pace with demand, which they don’t expect to ease until more Americans find better paying jobs. In a sign of how stressed the budgets of many Americans are, a record 47.1 million people used food stamps in August 2012, up from 45.8 million the year earlier.
With such pressures at work,on-hand supplies at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank have fallen from a peak of about 3.3 weeks in 2010 to less than two weeks – the lowest in recent history, according to its president and CEO, Michael Flood.
Tightening food supplies last summer forced the food bank to start a waiting list because it does not have enough inventory to expand beyond the 640 agencies it already supplies with food. There are now 565 nonprofits on the waiting list, Flood said.
Government commodities once made up 28 percent of the food flowing through the Feeding America network, which includes about 90 percent of U.S. food banks and provides food for about 37 million people during the year. This year those commodities account for 17 percent, Feeding America said.
The Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina has seen its monthly supplies of TEFAP products plummet by roughly two-thirds to about 170,000 pounds from 500,000 pounds. At the same time, state budget cuts have slashed its annual funding by about half to $500,000, Executive Director Clyde Fitzgerald said.
This is a development we must all keep a close eye on.
Full article here.