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The New Face of Hunger In America

 

Today’s post was first published on July 8, 2011.

I thought it worth it to run  again when I read this headline and the accompanying story from The Christian Science Monitor last week: A Long, Steep Drop for Americans’ Standard of Living. It is worth a complete read.

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I started this blog sixteen months ago because of news reports of the increasing number of middle class Americans who have to rely on food stamps and food pantries to feed their families.

 Not poor, but middle class families.

I hoped that MTTD could provide a place for people to find delicious, easy, and inexpensive recipes that would not over burden their already tight budgets.

From then to now the number of people relying on food stamps and food pantries in order to feed their familes has increased so dramatically that food pantries are experiencing shortages of food.

This shortage of food at pantries has led to some new and innovative ways to keep up with demand.

According to a report from NPR, Food Bank Shortages Lead To Innovation, dented and crushed cans of food, which once were just thrown away,  may be getting a new lease on life. A vacuum packaging machine, which is usually used to vacuum seal foods in plastic packages, is now being tested to see if it can detect whether the food in dented cans has been spoiled or not.  The testing looks encouraging and may result in more food becoming available for the hungry. Just in the nick of time it seems.

According to the article 150 billion pounds of food a year is wasted in America. This is more than enough to feed the hungry.

And it is more than just individual households. It is corporate. Consider the following:

According to Jonathan Bloom, author of a book called American Wasteland: 

“All throughout the food chain, there’s a winnowing process, where anything that doesn’t look quite right or isn’t the right size gets cast aside,” Bloom says. “And this squandering of perfectly edible food is happening from farm to fork. The main culprit here is wanting our food to look perfect.”

He says lots of retailers prefer to throw damaged or bruised food away, rather than donating it, for fear of being sued if something goes wrong — even though there are laws protecting donors against such suits.

According to the article there is another 6 billon pounds of produce that never even makes it from farm to stores.

 

As if all this was not bad enough I read an even more disturbing article this week. This headline really hits home for me.

Headline from the examinrer.com:

Senior citizens’ numbers dramatically increase in lineup at Sacramento food banks

And the opening paragraph sums the situation up quite well:

The myth that older adults are wealthy and spend their money on cruises and vacations at campuses for life-long learning is not what it appears. An increasing number of Sacramento senior adults are lining up for hours waiting for local food banks to open. [Emphasis mine.]

and this:

In Sacramento, it’s also the working poor that’s increasing in number as the newly homeless or others who may consider food as a luxury item. In 2009, the food bank served an average of about 2,300 people a month. This year, it is supplying food boxes to 2,900, according to the Sacramento Bee article.

The working poor……..

But there is a new twist to the face of hunger in America today. Many of the hungry are the working hungry. They have jobs. But the jobs pay so little that after rent or mortgage and other necessities there is not enough money left over for food.

It is not the shiftless, nor the don’t wanna work that rely on food pantries these days. It is US.

This is a national disgrace.

There was some good heartening news in this article though. 

The pantry in Elk Grove also gets extra backyard produce dropped off by gardeners, up to 600 pounds a week during the summer….

You can read the entire article here, including, if you live in California, ways and places where you can help. Just click the link.

 Featured Recipe             Apples with Triple Sec

Today’s recipe was first published on October 13, 2010. It can be a great adult party food for Halloween and is much better than bobbing for apples.

It is also very inexpensive. This is good for these tight recessionary times in that you do not have to give up all fun. Plus this has the extra added benefit of being healthy……an apple a day and all that…….combined with taking the edge off the fact you have no money with the Triple Sec.

The name says it all. I ALWAYS get kudos for this recipe. It deserves all the kudos, too.

It is simplicity personified.

It is deliciousness personified. 

It is better than bobbing for apples. 

It is better than trick or treating.

It is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

This is what you will need:

A couple of apples

Some Triple Sec

Here is what you do:

Wash the apples.

Cut the apples into slices.

Place apples in a bowl and pour some Triple Sec over the apples. 

Then arrange nicely on a serving platter.

Oh you of little faith!!! 

I am crushed.

You did not believe me!!!!

See.

It really is easy.

For Christmas you can use red and green apples like I did.

For Halloween use orangey colored apples and/or Golden Delicious.

You can make a double or triple layer of apples.

You can add a holiday specific motif  like the ghost above.

Or for a more sophisticated look use a candle. In the picture below you can also see a double layer of apples.

Health Alert

If you eat enough slices to equal 1 whole apple it counts as 1 full serving of fruits & vegetables for the day. That’s my story and I’m a ‘stickin to it!!!

Bon appétit!!!

Cost 

4 Apples         $3.12

Triple Sec      $0.64 

Total cost = $3.76 
Cost per person = ????

Depends on how many people are at your shindig and how many slices they partake.

Quote of the Day 

Courage does not roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’  

Mary Anne Radmacher

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