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On Foodstamps: One in Seven and Getting Worse

photo: by Rocketships, Jellyfish via Flickr

From Sara Murray at the Wall Street Journal:

Some 42.9 million people collected food stamps last month, up 1.2% from the prior month and 16.2% higher than the same time a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Nationwide 14% of the population relied on food stamps as of September but in some states the percentage was much higher.

(Click through to check your state.)

14% is roughly one in seven. In DC, Mississippi, and Tennessee, it’s more one in five.

That’s right: one in five.

And the numbers are going up. Compared with last year, as Murray noted, they’re up 16% nationwide, but again, the state by state numbers are stunning. They’re up by more than 20% in 13 states, up by more than 25% in 6 states, and in Idaho they’re up by a whopping 39.1% over last year.

I don’t think this is what folks had in mind last December 31 when everyone shouted “Happy New Year.”

Winter is here, with all the cold and snow (or as Chuck Todd likes to call it, “not news”), and as Bernie Sander’s speech yesterday noted, far too many people are trying to stretch very limited money to pay for housing, fuel (heating and transportation), and food.

If you’re not the “one” of the “one in seven” (or “one in five”), find your local food pantry, and send them some cash or some canned goods. Find your regional non-profit food distributor (like Harvesters here in KC), and do the same. If there’s a barrel at the entrance to your grocery store for donations, make sure you pick up some additional groceries to be able to drop some stuff off at the end of your shopping trip.

And if you are the one, don’t be too proud to eat properly. Want to pay folks back somehow? Volunteer to help out sorting food donations, sweep the floors, or something else.

One in seven is a sad commentary on the state of life in one of the wealthiest nations on earth. Brings to mind again that story I wrote about the other day . . .

One in seven. Damn.

If you can, please pitch in. Folks could really use the help — now more than ever.

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I'm an ordained Lutheran pastor with a passion for language, progressive politics, and the intersection of people's inner sets of ideals and beliefs (aka "faith" to many) and their political actions. I mostly comment around here, but offer a weekly post or two as well. With the role that conservative Christianity plays in the current Republican politics, I believe that progressives ignore the dynamics of religion, religious language, and religiously-inspired actions at our own peril. I am also incensed at what the TheoCons have done to the public impression of Christianity, and don't want their twisted version of it to go unchallenged in the wider world. I'm a midwesterner, now living in the Kansas City area, but also spent ten years living in the SF Bay area. I'm married to a wonderful microbiologist (she's wonderful all the way around, not just at science) and have a great little Kid, for whom I am the primary caretaker these days. I love the discussions around here, especially the combination of humor and seriousness that lets us take on incredibly tough stuff while keeping it all in perspective and treating one another with respect.

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