While we hear about other countries facing starvation, such as Ethiopia, we seldom stop to look in our own backyard. The U.S. has more than its fair share of citizens going hungry, and many of them, though they’ve tried, can’t get the help they need from the government.
Another travesty is that what these hungry Americans need to survive is being shipped elsewhere around the world to assist non-U.S. citizens in places like Haiti. Certainly, humanitarian aid cannot be discounted for the good it does, but shouldn’t we be eating first? It’s a redundant question.
The findings from a recent poll conducted by Impact Genome and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that 23%, almost one-fourth, of Americans can’t fill their dinner plates, or if they somehow manage to, it’s with cheap non-nutritious food items.
Out of the 23% of the nation’s hungry citizens, 58% who applied for government assistance over the past year, since Biden took office, have been jumping through hoops with very few results. Because of this, nonprofit food organizations can’t keep up with the demand. There is simply not enough food to go around.
A whopping 21% of families with growling stomachs have found absolutely no help at all. Some of this can be attributed to not knowing how or where to apply, and some due to adults not realizing they are eligible for assistance, but generally speaking, this is not the case.
The COVID-19 pandemic suddenly plunged hundreds of thousands of once comfortable citizens into disarray. Unemployment benefits, even with an extra $300 kicked in, still weren’t enough to keep their children’s bellies full.
Attempting to apply for food benefits introduced them to a flood of red tape and the rusted-out slow-grinding wheels of government bureaucracy. Many of them never could successfully wade through it all. Yet others were rejected because in normal times they “make too much money” and they weren’t “officially” let go from their jobs. They’re merely taking some pandemic time off.
A prime example of becoming a victim of circumstances is Acacia Barraza from the Tuscon, Arizona area. Because of the pandemic, Barraza, 34, lost her job as a waitress. She had also just given birth to her son who is now two years old.
Once it was safe to go back to work she discovered that because the pandemic had also created a shortage of childcare workers, supply and demand had caused rates to escalate and she’d be left with very little at the end of the week.
This posed yet another problem. Even though the bulk of her pay would go to childcare, her gross income would not qualify her for food assistance. This left her with little choice other than not to work. Even with the assistance she now receives, which is less than she used to bring home pre-pandemic, she cannot afford fresh fruits or vegetables for her child but at least he’s eating something.
Trelecia Mornes from Fort Worth jumped at the chance to go back to work but she now regrets her decision to return. The money she earns, since business is still down where she works, just barely keeps her family fed, but it’s considered too much to qualify for assistance.
And so the problem continues as more and more American families find themselves distraught through no fault of their own. Where’s Joe? If there was ever a need for him to focus his full attention on a growing issue, this is it.
He could end the government bureaucracy if he weren’t such a big part of it. He could regulate childcare costs to get the Americans who want to go back to work, back to work, and he could at least make sure everyone under his command has enough food to eat before sending it elsewhere.
Not to discount the need for infrastructure, but shouldn’t growling bellies take priority? What’s your take?