LatinaLista — President-elect Obama’s recent doomsday assessment of the economy underscored a sad fact ”the worsening economy isn’t just hitting people’s pocketbooks but someplace where it really hurts ” the dinner table.
Feeding America (formerly known as Second Harvest) released a press release last month citing how the nation’s food banks experienced a 30 percent increase in emergency food assistance.
A family takes advantage of their local food bank.
(Source: Feeding America)
The economy is affecting all Americans, but it is low-income Americans who are suffering the most,â€ said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. â€œSkyrocketing unemployment rates, increasing food costs and high fuel prices for the majority of this year have put an unprecedented level of need on our food banks. Unemployment projections indicate that the situation is likely to get worse in the near future. Low-income Americans need increases in food stamps and our network needs more food from the federal government to ensure that we can keep feeding the millions of people turning to us for help.â€
More than 90 percent of food banks respondents cited increases in food prices and unemployment as the primary factors contributing to the increase in requests for emergency food assistance. More than 60 percent cited fuel, and 52 percent cited the inadequacy of food stamp benefits.
Seventy-two percent of food banks reported that they are not able to adequately meet the needs of their communities without adjusting the amount of food distributed â€“ offering smaller amounts of food and groceries to those in need â€“ or their operations.
Unfortunately, it’s no longer just the poor who are feeling these hunger pangs. It’s also the working poor. It’s reported that 40 percent of those seeking food assistance are employed.
Working poor have jobs but still need extra help to provide for their families. More than 41 percent of households served by food banks last year reported having to choose between buying food and paying for utilities or heat. More than one-third – 35 percent – of the same households reported having to choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage.
It was this kind of grim news that spurred one Connecticut man to do something he’d never done before.
Scott Becker is a 41-year-old father of three with a steady income and plenty to keep him busy. So the fact that he has taken it upon himself to write a short story, create a simple web site and help millions of people across the country whom he’s never met would be considered unusual by itself.
But for Becker, the hunger crisis is such an imperative issue that touches so many lives that he tells Latina Lista that he could no longer just simply sit by and do nothing.
So Becker wrote a short, very simple story titled “Is Your Belly Full?” and created a companion website. He’s not asking for money but just wants people to share his short story with others in the hopes that everyone will realize the extent of the hunger crisis and donate food or money to their local food banks.
A quick visit to his website instantly reveals how “from-the-heart” it is. A self-confessed newbie to creating websites, Becker’s “Is Your Belly Full?” site is plain â€” no fancy illustrations or smart animation. In fact, no pictures at all. The same goes for his story that is geared to children showcasing how in one moment a family can have a job and food on the table and the next are left to wonder where the next meal will come from.
As an added bonus to those who take the time to read his story, Becker is willing to personalize each copy with the name of a local foodbank on the back cover. In that way, if a foodbank would like to distribute the story to help raise awareness of the need for donations their contact info is on the story.
So far, Becker has spent about $200 of his own money. He considers it a worthy investment but there’s one more step Becker wants to do with his story to get the message out to the masses â€” have his story translated into Spanish and other languages.
Only this part takes money that he doesn’t have. He’s currently looking for anyone who shares his passion to help the hungry and who is fluent and able to translate Is Your Belly Full?.
He can’t pay but he does promise that the feeling of satisfaction of helping will be more than FULfilling.