I openly admit I hate to watch the news. Day after day, the format never changes. Newscasters report of murder, rape, fires, thefts, political scandals – basically, all the things that can easily bring you down. However, my husband is a news junkie and I’ll occasionally catch the news.
I become angry when they report the unemployment rate is at 9.1%, but they fail to count people like me. The people who continue to be unemployed after the benefits run out and tap into savings and gifts from friends and family. It really bothers me that the news only reports the number the government counts and forgets this large population which is now making up the disappearing middle class.
I’ve been hearing a lot more about this problem lately and know that the purse strings are tight in my household, but when I had a chance to visit Gillespie House last week with Kevin Mullins, Executive Director of Community Plates, it became clear just how real this problem has become.
Maryellen Estrada, Director of Gillespie Center in Westport, shared with us that this new economy has changed the dynamics of the people that come to the shelter for meals and food to take home. Initially when she started at the shelter, it was mainly homeless people, but now, many are people who have fallen on hard times because of the economy. Ones who once owned homes, rented apartments, traveled, are now scraping by and need the assistance.
In my humble opinion, food insecurity in the U.S. will continue to rise because of this new economy and the disappearance of the middle class. I like the fact that Community Plates’ volunteers and the businesses Community Plates have partnered with help those in need by the simple concept of rescuing food and giving it to people in need. — Joan