How is it that we do not have the financial resources to provide relief for the most vulnerable among us, but we always have the means to subsidize our largest and most profitable corporations? The answer is not that difficult. In fact, it is fairly straightforward.
It’s about wealth and greed. It’s about what we value, and it’s about our political leaders feathering their own nests. It’s about not caring enough to get involved.
And when we continue to elect leaders who vote for allowing millions of our citizens to be stalked by hunger, we need to be honest with ourselves. We are complicit.
Does anyone else find it interesting that just when the #BLOTUS approval rating has sunk to its lowest (34%). the time is just right to spend $60,000,000 or so to demonstrate his newly found “outrage?”
Let’s give credit where credit is due. The rich, top 1%, get richer by the hour, while the number of poor continue to grow larger and are sinking ever deeper.
This is all happening at the same time the rich point their golden finger of blame at those that they are allowing to drown. Blaming the victim is nothing new, but it is uglier and more mean-spirited than ever.
Not all news is bad. Here is some significantly good news from Michigan.
With over 40 million of United States citizens living in poverty and facing hunger on a regular basis we need more of these types of innovative outreach programs. This is definitely a win-win for all those involved.
Fair Food Network Receives $5.1M to Scale up Successful Program Benefitting Low-Income Families & Farmers
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow hails Double Up Food Bucks as “innovative partnership”
APRIL 1, 2015 | ANN ARBOR, Mich.— Fair Food Network announced today that it received $5.1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand Double Up Food Bucks, Michigan’s statewide healthy food incentive program that simultaneously increases access to healthy food for low-income Americans and puts more money in the pockets of family farmers.
The grant, provided by the new Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grants program, will be matched with private funds for a total of nearly $10.4 million.
The funds will be used to better serve participants on SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) by expanding the program to more farmers markets and grocery store locations across Michigan and supporting new technology and other innovations.
“We’ve proven that Double Up successfully boosts family nutrition and farmer earnings,” said Oran Hesterman, president and CEO of Fair Food Network and a former farmer, agronomist, and leader in philanthropy. “With this funding, we’ll reach even more people, supporting healthy food environments and resilient rural and urban communities.”
Partners in other states, including Utah and Oregon, also received FINI funding to launch their own Double Up programs with assistance from Fair Food Network.
There was stunning news released by the U.S. Census Bureau today about child hunger. In 2014, there were 16 million children living off food stamp assistance. That is one in every five children in the United States.
The food stamp (SNAP) program gives needy families purchasing power at grocery stores. Since the Great Recession of 2007 the need for SNAP has gone way up. Before 2007 the number of children on food stamps was around 9 million.
High unemployment and low wages has made it hard for families to afford food. The need for SNAP has never been greater. However, Congress reduced the SNAP program starting in late 2013. That move has placed a strain on food banks to make up the difference, which they cannot achieve on their own.
This year the Congress will be crafting a new child nutrition bill. This will tackle issues such as the school lunch, breakfast programs and after school and summer feeding. There are improvements needed to these initiatives. My recent opinion piece, published by the Louisville Courier-Journal, discusses this vital legislation.
With so many children in hunger, and needing food stamps, aid must be increased. The danger is the largest generation of impoverished and hungry children America has ever seen. The consequences will be devastating.
In the days since the passing of the Farm Bill I have struggled to understand the motivation of leaders who display such a seemingly callous disregard for those among us who are most in need. The Republican Party’s relentless attack on the poor of our nation demonstrates an almost unbelievable lack of compassion, while also totally ignoring the need for justice for the powerless among us.
I have reprinted the following NY TIMES article of Paul Krugman without editing as it captures my own dismay at the lack of decency so blatantly obvious in Washington. Is this kind of leadership reflective of the true values of our nation? If so, may God have mercy on us all.
Hunger Games, U.S.A., by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.
The occasion for these observations is … the monstrous farm bill the House passed last week. For decades, farm bills have had two major pieces. One piece offers subsidies to farmers; the other offers nutritional aid to Americans in distress, mainly in the form of food stamps…
Long ago, when subsidies helped many poor farmers, you could defend the whole package as a form of support for those in need. Over the years, however,… farm subsidies became a fraud-ridden program that mainly benefits corporations and wealthy individuals. Meanwhile food stamps became a crucial part of the social safety net.
So House Republicans voted to maintain farm subsidies — at a higher level than either the Senate or the White House proposed — while completely eliminating food stamps from the bill. …
Given this awesome double standard — I don’t think the word “hypocrisy” does it justice — it seems almost anti-climactic to talk about … the theory, common on the right, that … we have so much unemployment thanks to government programs that, in effect, pay people not to work? (Soup kitchens caused the Great Depression!) The basic answer is, you have to be kidding. Do you really believe that Americans are living lives of leisure on $134 a month, the average SNAP benefit?
Still, let’s pretend to take this seriously…, what’s going on here? Is it just racism? No doubt the old racist canards — like Ronald Reagan’s image of the “strapping young buck” using food stamps to buy a T-bone steak — still have some traction. But these days almost half of food stamp recipients are non-Hispanic whites… So it’s not all about race.
What is it about, then? Somehow, one of our nation’s two great parties has become infected by an almost pathological meanspiritedness, a contempt for what CNBC’s Rick Santelli, in the famous rant that launched the Tea Party, called “losers.” If you’re an American, and you’re down on your luck, these people don’t want to help; they want to give you an extra kick. I don’t fully understand it, but it’s a terrible thing to behold.