past summer’s record-breaking drought caused a nationwide food
shortage and price hikes that left some Americans hungry this
Thanksgiving. With food banks in short supply, it is more difficult
for low-wage workers to find an affordable meal.
banks are charitable organizations that distribute food to low-income
individuals who can’t afford to buy groceries. Food banks also
supply food pantries, charitable nonprofit groups, soup kitchens and
emergency shelters. To remove surpluses, the US government buys
leftover food and donates it to food banks. But the most recent
drought, which was the worst since the 1930’s Dust Bowl, caused a
food shortage and significantly higher prices at grocery stores.
fewer government donations, food banks are in short supply and some
low-income families are not able to have much of a holiday feast.
D.C.’s Capital Area Food Bank, which supplied 700 pantries and
nonprofit groups, has seen a 38 percent plummet in donations this
year, the Washington Post reports. Volunteers have been forced to
compensate for the loss by trying to fill the gap in other ways. Some
nonprofit organizations have purchased additional food themselves or
substituted their usual meals with cheaper foods.
Gethsemane United Methodist Church in Capitol Heights this year
received scraps of chicken instead of turkeys. Volunteer outreach
coordinator Anne White scrambled to collect full chickens from
private donors in time for Thanksgiving.
would normally get a nice turkey breast,” she told the Post. “I
attribute it to the economic crisis – everybody has had to cut
hundred miles away, a Chicago food pantry was also in desperate need
for donations. With 500 to 600 low-income families lining up for food
on a weekly basis at the St. Columbanus Food Pantry, workers of the
depository had to hand out smaller rations. Rather than a 5 or 10 lb.
bag of apples, hungry Chicago families were given just two – and
not everyone received a turkey.
by now we are getting all of the root vegetables – fresh corn. But
because of the drought, we don’t have it,” pantry director
Laverne Morris told CBS News.
Raleigh, N.C., the demand at the city’s food bank has skyrocketed.
Those who used to be in the lower-middle class and previously never
needed assistance showed up at the food bank this year, Raleigh Food
Bank president Peter Werbicki told WRAL TV.
are not keeping up with the demand,” he said. Werbicki told
reporters that his assistance load is up by 25 percent and the high
cost of food is causing some families to starve.
really been hit this year with the drought, really been hit,” he
shortage was felt nationwide in the days surrounding Thanksgiving,
but perhaps most severely in New York City, where the aftermath of
Hurricane Sandy put a financial strain on low-income hurricane
victims. The Food Bank for New York City found that it was supplying
25 percent fewer pantries and soup kitchens than it was five years
ago, even though 1.4 million New Yorkers rely on the assistance, the
Wall Street Journal reported.
Wechlsler, overseer of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty,
told the Journal that before the hurricane struck, his group’s
Brooklyn warehouse was stocked with provisions that were expected to
last through December. But when Sandy devastated the region, about
500 more people came each day until the resources were depleted in
just two weeks.
a struggling economy, the effects of the drought and the hurricane
have taken a toll on the poorest of Americans, leaving many without
the provisions they need to properly feed a family.