America’s Cupboards are Bare this Holiday Season

Every few weeks, a member of the Xi Xi Chapter of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. tackles a diversity-related topic that interests her and posts her thoughts for the intellectual benefit of all.

Members of the Xi Xi Chapter represent a variety of races, cultures, religions, backgrounds, and lifestyles.  Each woman’s unique voice and perspective push the entire chapter out of its comfort zone and into real understanding of the world around us.  It is only when we recognize and appreciate difference that we gain the ability to critically engage our own worldviews.

America’s Cupboards are Bare this Holiday Season – J. Watson

"Food Bank" - Courtesy of springhillfresh.com

Each year, as several major religious and secular holidays converge in December, this month becomes a time of great generosity. In 2011, that generosity will be vitally important to a critical segment of the United States population: the nearly 50 percent of Americans living in need.

As the United States has buckled under the strain of the 2007-2009 recession and the numerous failed attempts to restart the economy, the outlook for America’s most vulnerable has become increasingly dire.

Reporting on the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 2011 hunger and homelessness survey, Lucia Mutikani of Reuters states that 86 percent of the cities surveyed indicated an increased need for emergency food assistance in the 2010-2011 program year.

According to the report, 50 percent of this assistance went to families and 26 percent to people who were employed. The remaining assistance went to the elderly (19%) and the homeless (11%). Over the surveyed time period, homelessness increased by 6 percent on average and nearly 50 million Americans were classified as impoverished.

Hope Yen of the Chicago Sun Times reports a sobering fact that nearly one in two Americans, an all-time record, is now living either in poverty or on the threshhold. An incredible 97 million Americans are now classified as low-income, meaning that they are barely able to support themselves. These individuals and families are living paycheck to paycheck, in fear that one medical expense or emergency will thrust them into poverty.

Along with the nearly 50 million Americans who are classified as being in poverty, today, over 146 million people need help to access to the basics: food, clothing, and shelter. To be clear, with just over 300 million people living in the United States, according to the United States Census, those 146 Americans represent nearly half of the population.

While the news may seem dire, there is always hope.

Can you imagine how impactful it would be if we all dropped off a bag of groceries at a local food bank on our way home from our holiday meal shopping? Food banks in communities across the United States are strained to the limits.

It takes so little to really make a difference.

Find a local food bank: http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx


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