I recieved the following e-mail from someone at work who is in charge of our organizations food drives and United Way campaigns. The area I work in (not live in) has always been considered affluent. The schools districts are good, high graduation rates and test scores, the crime rates are low. There are a lot of parks, and not many areas you would call "Bad Neighborhoods." Nevertheless, there are still people here living invisible, on the fringe, trying to keep it together. Here's the e-mail:
The Kansas City area has hundreds of food pantries. All are being overwhelmed with people seeking assistance while donations are down. The bad economy is affecting a cross section of the population. This week two area pantries—one in REDACTED and Catholic Charities in REDACTED ran out of food. How can a food pantry be without food? Some pantries have seen a 90 percent drop in food donations from churches, individuals and civic organizations compared with a year ago. Necessary and painful changes had to be made to help those in need. A family of two used to get to choose 25 items per monthly trip. Now it’s 10 items. Clients used to be able to pick two or three meat items. Now, it’s one meat item equivalent to 1 pound of hamburger of a chicken).
Bad times ahead, "my friends." If you don't know your neighbors, get to know them. If your grocery store has those little coupons you can scan to donate to Harvesters, buy them. We are going to need to help each other out.
Its great that this community could get the money together for the DNC, and I'm not discounting that. But right here, right now, there are people who are starting to hurt, and in the words of an old, old diary here (Hunter? Darksyde?) Winter is coming.