2008 has been a time of nearly unprecedented economic stress but here in New Jersey and across the country. As always seems to be the case, the folks hit hardest by the recent recession are, of course, the ones least prepared to handle it.
Those of us who are only marginally affected (so far) are doing what we can to help. I know I see lost of folks stopping at the Salvation Army kettles and I've brought canned goods to about 4 food drives so far, but there still seems to be a lack of attention on the issue.
I hope that today can change that a bit here in New Jersey. Last week one of the premier New Jersey Food bloggers, John and Lisa Howard-Fusco asked me to be part of today's Blogging Out Hunger. The program was put together by Debbie at Jersey Bites, and I am blogger number 51 of 103 who will post today about how the recession is affecting the food banks of New Jersey.
In my regular job I help families figure out how they are going to afford to send their kids to college. In a good economy it's a tough job. In a bad economy, well, let's not go there. I'm lucky to be at a school that has the resources to help. For years though, I worked at a community college, where literally thousands of our students depended on public assistance, food stamps, church soup kitchens and the generosity of others to squeak by.
From that experience I can tell you that even across the fairly prosperous areas of South Jersey, there are unseen poor, forced to wear winter coats inside to keep heating bills low enough that they can afford to feed their kids. They guy scavenging newspapers from your curb on recycling day is probably burning them to keep warm.
The recession is especially insidious becasue it's hit the middle class hard. We're the traditional target population for the appeals by the food banks for funding. And we're giving less because we have less to give.
But the problem has not gotten smaller. In fact, food banks across NJ face demand that is far oupacing their ability to help. Only though direct action can we turn this around.
Please go here and donate. Today. You never know when you might be the one in need.