A recent article on Huffington Post (full Article here; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/working-poor-liquid-asset-poverty_n_1243152.html) reports that more Americans are liquid-asset poor, meaning that they have nothing to fall back on, no savings, no back-up funds. Only one paycheck away from being in middle class, to poor.
A major car repair needed, a medical emergency, a sudden house repair. Think of it: a transmission replacement, a needed water heater, or an emergency appendectomy and you need to apply for SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) but with new guidelines, having a car can eliminate you from receiving that assistance - but you need it for work. Having a 401K no matter the amount and you are to "rich" for help.
At the Food Pantry I see both. People that never expected to have to get free food. Husbands that lost their jobs, or received a major pay cut or layoff. A mom who was once a second income that is now the only income. Those that are desperately trying to make ends meet, just getting food in their homes and for their children. I listened to a 3rd grader tell me that her father had been in the hospital and could not work for several months, that there was no food in the house. A third grader - 8 years old and she knew her families needs, and what they did not have.
The 'Self declaration of Need Form' that our clients fill out has them state what their income level is. (the form is supplied by CEO and is required by the Dept of Agriculture for Food Pantry service) If you are single than your income base is $314.00/week, six in the family the amount is $865.00/week $3,749.00/month. Many that I have had assisted in the pantry wish they could make/receive that much per week.
Where am I going with this - I can't say. What are we to do about this- still no true clue. It can be overwhelming, and easy to give up because it is so much to do for so many. But than again:
“If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”
- Mother Teresa