hunger games

Hunger is spiking in NC during the pandemic

Close to a 40% increase over 2019 numbers:

Nearly 80% of North Carolinians are at least considering sharing a meal with someone outside their household on Thanksgiving or winter holiday, and nearly 18% reported having too little food on at least one day in the previous week, according to preliminary results from an online survey conducted Nov. 17-22.

The US Department of Agriculture reported 13.1% of North Carolina households from 2017-2019 did not have enough food, relied on food banks or food stamps, or used other strategies to eat.

Bolding mine, just to highlight where I got that 40%. This is bad news on both fronts. Apparently people aren't taking the warnings about Thanksgiving seriously enough, and we can expect a (possibly huge) spike in Coronavirus cases in early December. But I'm sure some of those folks are also part of the 18% who are food insecure, and congregating may be the only way they can have a meal tomorrow. Or the day after. Here's some analysis from the NCCU survey folks:

Food insecurity in Chatham County reaches critical level

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And the food pantries are struggling to keep up:

Chatham County, at the state’s geographical center, is home to 68,778 residents, 7,480 of whom are food insecure, according to data compiled by the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

In Chatham County, roughly one in nine people are struggling with food insecurity, which is slightly less than the statewide average of one in seven. But economic conditions in Chatham and have created an insidious cycle of need in recent years.

If there was ever a strong argument against our Capitalist system, it's this one. There's more than enough food in our state/country to feed everybody; we throw away some 38 million tons of food each year in the United States, and yet 41 million Americans don't get enough to eat. And when government leaders try to make up for their tax cuts by cutting food stamp spending, the absurdity of those numbers gets even worse:

Greensboro/High Point tops list of hungriest cities in US

And there doesn't appear to be a solution in the works:

Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are Census Bureau‐defined areas that include central cities plus the surrounding counties with strong economic and social ties to the central cities. In looking at MSA food hardship rates, FRAC aggregated 2013 and 2014 data to produce more accurate estimates and smaller margins of error.

The worst MSAs may be Greensboro‐High Point, North Carolina, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Fresno, California, but 98 of 100 MSAs have at least one in eight (12.5 percent or more) households reporting food hardship. While there was variation around the country, the inability to purchase adequate food was a serious problem in every MSA.

While hunger may be an extremely complex problem that doesn't lend itself to easy fixes, it is very easy to make it worse. You can cut back severely on unemployment benefits, you can cut back on funding for food stamps and/or make it difficult to administer properly, you can get rid of the Earned Income Tax Credit and/or take away certain tax deductions that particularly affect children or the elderly, and several other unwise and inhumane policy steps. But when you do all of those things without a care for the consequences, you have graduated from being conservative to being a genuine threat to the health and welfare of the society you're sworn to protect.

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