I asked my mother what it was like growing up with six brothers and sisters during the Depression. She said home was a truck farm (fruits and vegetables), and as long as the family had food, they were fine.
For low-income Iowans today, growth in the economy has had little impact. Many seniors find themselves living on less. Heating costs, rent and prescription drugs are eating away at whatever retirement income is available.
For families with children, it is not uncommon for a husband and wife to work three minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet. Increased living and child-care costs have made it impossible for a low-wage earner to afford anything beyond basics. A car breaking down, a serious illness, a layoff — anything beyond day-to-day bills can send a family spiraling downward. Studies show that the first thing that is put aside is accessing food.
The consequences can be great.
The Food Research and Action Center provides the following startling statistics from 2004:
38.2 million Americans lived in food-insecure households.
That is a 5.2% increase over 2003,
and a 23.2% increase over 1999.
11.3% of adults lived in food-insecure households.
19% of all children lived in food-insecure households.
Happy Thanksgiving to war President and Commander-in-Chief George W. Fucking Bush.