Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: Hunger on the rise in Alaska and across the country--has been for months and it's going to get worse. Why aren't we more concerned?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hunger on the rise in Alaska and across the country--has been for months and it's going to get worse. Why aren't we more concerned?

Per the Anchorage Daily News:
They're seeing new faces in line at the Downtown Soup Kitchen.

Families. Moms.

A few blocks away, Bean's Cafe is serving more free meals. A 33 percent increase in May, compared to the same time last year.

A local pantry that delivers food to needy families recently asked the Food Bank of Alaska to stop sending people its way.

"They aren't able to meet the needs," said Food Bank development manager Amy DeBruhl.

Maybe it's the scary gas prices or the towering grocery bills. Maybe something else. But this year people in Anchorage are asking for more help filling their plates and stomachs.

"We are definitely seeing a lot more of the working poor, rather than the unemployed," said Jennifer Nieves, program director for St. Francis House, a food bank run by Catholic Social Services.

Last week the pantry cut back on the amount of beans and rice it gives to individual visitors who aren't picking up food for an entire family.

From Dec. on KTUU:
The Food Bank of Alaska says it helped more than 80,000 people last year. Food banks in general report more people seem to be coming in these days.

To keep up, they, too, need to keep food on the shelves.

For me, the most amazing part of this is how little discussion there has been on the huge impact the horrible tornado and flood-ridden weather in Iowa and the rest of America's Heartland will have on our future food prices and supplies. Finally, today from AP:
NEW YORK - Raging Midwest floodwaters that swallowed crops and sent corn and soybean prices soaring are about to give consumers more grief at the grocery store.

In the latest bout of food inflation, beef, pork, poultry and even eggs, cheese and milk are expected to get more expensive as livestock owners go out of business or are forced to slaughter more cattle, hogs, turkeys and chickens to cope with rocketing costs for corn-based animal feed.

The floods engulfed an estimated 2 million or more acres of corn and soybean fields in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and other key growing states, sending world grain prices skyward on fears of a substantially smaller corn crop. The government will give a partial idea of how many corn acres were lost before the end of the month, but experts say the trickle-down effect could be more dramatic later this year, affecting everything from Thanksgiving turkeys to Christmas hams.

Let's talk about every food item that uses soy protein, soy oil, corn oil, corn syrup, etc... That's the majority of items on the shelves.

I've been calling relatives in Iowa as well as my parents as to the status of our own farm in Eastern Iowa. Thankfully, none of my family members have been driven from their homes or have suffered great losses yet, but we won't know anything about the crop until harvest time.

I'm not sure if folks understand what a calamity they could be facing...I find that neither coast seems to understand where their food comes from. I wonder if, six months from now, the focus will shift from gas prices to food prices? I wonder what that will mean for our next president?


Blogger monocot said...

With the rising costs of fuel and food, I think it's a really good thing that many people are reviving the tradition of victory gardens. Here in Denver, I've seen more backyard gardens than in years past, and my family at home in Florida reports the same thing.

6/24/2008 3:01 PM  

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