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We are the tired, the poor

By Staff | Jan 4, 2012

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you’ve probably noticed the cost of food has risen sharply in recent months. Still, economists hold fast to the idea that our economy “is improving.”

If this is true, why are food prices increasing so quickly?

Many of the new “sale prices” at the large chain stores are the old “regular prices.” Other items appear as if their packages have been reduced in size to mask the price increases. With millions of American families barely scraping by as it is, what is going to happen if food prices continue to rise at this rapid pace?

With resolutions to “lose a few pounds in the New Year,” food prices are especially painful to the wallets of those who are trying to eat healthy. If you try to stick to food that is “healthy” or “organic” you can literally blow through hundreds of dollars in a heartbeat. In fact, the reality is that tens of millions of American families have now essentially been priced out of a healthy diet. But soon there will be millions more American families who will not even be able to afford an “unhealthy” diet, either.

Yes, things are going to get a lot worse.

“America” is having a really hard time feeding itself now. According to Feeding America’s 2010 hunger study, more than 37 million of us are being served by food pantries and soup kitchens. If you want to delve into the local statistics, the Sistersville Ministerial Association provided Christmas dinner for 49 families (or 143 people) this year at a cost of $1,788.35. Last year, they served 27 families at a cost of $900.

So, are these numbers unusual? Yes.

Since 2006, the number of Americans who are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46 percent. That is not a good trend.

Another staggering trend is the number of Americans on food stamps. Right now, there are 44 million Americans receiving food aid in this country. Of this number, nearly half of them are children.

How did we ever get to the point as a nation where more than 20 million children end up on food stamps? It is estimated that one out of every four American children is currently on food stamps, and it is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

What is going to happen if the economy gets even worse? What is going to happen if there really is a major food crisis in this country someday?

Food prices have been going up for decades and they are going to continue to go up. The frightening thing is how fast they are increasing now. As the U.S. middle class continues to be destroyed, the number of Americans who can’t afford to buy enough food is going to continue to rise. Food prices are rising much faster than wages, and that is not likely to change any time soon.

Food is rapidly becoming one of the most important global economic issues of this decade. “Give me your tired, your poor. . .” We ARE the tired and poor of this nation.

The farther one looks down the road, the bleaker things look for the global food situation. Are you are prepared?