As Republicans fight to slash billions from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food banks are struggling with the food stamp benefit cuts that already happened. That's leading to Thanksgiving turkey shortages in many places. In Brooklyn, New York:
With Thanksgiving a week away, about 30 people waited for approval to enter the [Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger] pantry and fill sacks with potatoes, onions, milk and rice, and if they were so fortunate, a chicken or a ham. It was too late to get a turkey. Dr. Samuels said the pantry had given out more than 1,000 and had no more.In Fort Worth, Texas:
On Thursday, she was relieved that the shelves were not barren. Overnight, 19 skids of food had arrived from the Food Bank and other sources she had appealed to, she said.
On Monday morning, a line for bags filled with Thanksgiving goodies stretched to 1,200 people and around two neighborhood blocks.The story is similar in Phoenix, Arizona, and San Jose, California, and Dayton, Ohio, and Utica, New York and northern New Jersey, and more. In other words, it's not a fluke. People are hungry and private charity simply cannot make up for the SNAP cuts. The crisis won't end Thanksgiving day, either. According to Joel Berg, executive director of the New York Coalition Against Hunger, "The two days out of the year with the least hunger in America are Thanksgiving and Christmas." Thanksgiving is just the day the most people are paying attention to hunger and to what is or isn't on other people's tables.
The center's executive director said they had to send more than half of those folks away without the centerpiece of the meal.
"We need turkeys!" pleaded director Regena Taylor.
If you want to talk about the Thanksgiving or Christmas or holiday spirit, try carrying your sorrow that food banks are running out of turkeys over into outrage that congressional Republicans are trying to make the problem worse.