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Tens of millions of Americans are about to face one of the toughest winters ever recorded in U.S history. As companies continue to announce massive lay-offs, adding to the already staggering unemployment rate, several households are facing food and housing insecurity. The virus-induced economic downturn continues to cause financial devastation on the working poor, and left without a source of income or federal assistance, more and more people are now reliant on food banks to have enough to eat.
Reports from Texas, Colorado, Rhode Island, and many other states are describing growing food bank lines all across the nation. Moreover, permanent job losses continue to surge signaling a double-dip recession seems to be fast approaching. In this video, we examine how the tragic hunger crisis that has been affecting millions of U.S. families is a clear indication that the economic meltdown is far from over.
The more we scroll the latest news’ feed the more we see reports detailing how the growing food insecurity that has been spreading all over America is leaving food banks overwhelmed by such a sudden spike in demand. Currently, millions of U.S. citizens are going hungry and relying on volunteers and non-profit organizations to stay fed during the forthcoming holiday season and the approaching winter.
A clear picture of the economic suffering experienced by American workers can be seen in kilometric food bank lines, where some wait for up to eight hours to be provided with basic food supplies they no longer can afford. Last weekend, in Texas, one of the largest-ever food giveaways handed out more than 600,000 pounds of food to 25,000 hungry people, according to the North Texas Food Bank.
Many families that now need food bank’s help have never needed their help before, many have affirmed that without it, they wouldn’t have anything to eat. In the southern area of the state, the positivity rate has reached 11%. Consequently, business reopening plans were postponed and owners have already started another round of lay-offs and furloughs which, in turn, will impact Texans’ food insecurity levels.
Moreover, distance learning has been adding extra stress on parents when it comes to feeding their kids. A child would miss 10 meals in a week, and if a mom has two to three kids in school, she’s now feeling the impact of the cost of that food at home, and without employment, kids are going hungry. Schools are reporting that kids are struggling with their education because they don’t have access to good nutrition.
Food insecurity often disproportionately impacts people of color, seniors, and those living in low-income communities. Though the factors underlying racial and ethnic disparities in the United States are multifaceted and complex, long-standing disparities in nutrition and obesity play a crucial role in the health inequities. As a result, such mal-nourished, food-insecure people are becoming increasingly more vulnerable to the current virus.
According to a Feeding America survey, over 54 million Americans don’t have access to sufficient food. That’s why scenes just as seen in Texas are being repeated across the country. In Denver, the Weinberg Food Pantry has been handing free groceries to locals. The pantry operates three days a week, and Shelly Hines, director of community resources and stability for the agency, revealed that since the health crisis has started, business has quadrupled.
A lot are people that haven’t ever been in this situation before, have worked their whole lives and were furloughed. This distressing situation undergone by so many individuals has emphasized how the middle class isn’t immune to the struggles brought by the economic downturn. In Rhode Island, the hunger calamity has hit a whole new level. The local community food bank’s released informed that one out of 4 people in the state were unable to provide enough food for themselves and their families.
According to Andrew Schiff, the food bank’s chief executive officer, such critical circumstances are poised to get worse, considering evidence that “there might be a certain amount of donor fatigue”. “We’re coming up against that moment when bankruptcy, eviction, and hunger break out all over, jeopardizing what will already be a slow economic recovery”.
Schiff’s statement came at the same time JPMorgan predicted a negative first-quarter growth for the 2021 U.S. GDP. JPM’s chief economist Michael Feroli, wrote that “the economy no longer has a tailwind; instead, it now faces the headwind of increasing restrictions on activity.” And given that the holiday season “threatens a further increase in cases. This winter will be grim,” and their forecasts suggest the economy will contract again. In other words, the double-dip recession economists and market strategists have been warning about is on the verge of happening.
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