As heartwarming and inspiring as this outpouring was, what I found frightening about it is the clear sign that America is in deeper trouble than many will admit. This is the third year this event was held, and many of the families waiting in line for hours in near-hundred degree heat were present for their first time.
Until recently, these newcomers had not really known what it was like to be down and out, but now they were really feeling it. I could see from the interviews with some of these folks that it took a certain amount of humility -not to mention resignation- to go on camera and admit to finding themselves newly desperate. Yesterday, many of them were normal, middle class folks with a house and a job. Today, they don’t know what is going to happen to them next.
I didn’t catch how many thousands of people showed up for the event this year, but 13,000 arrived for help last year, nearly double the number from the year before. It is clear that things are getting progressively worse for a progressively larger number of people. Convoy of Hope has sprung up in many parts of California and across America. Still, the need that this program fills is only a drop in the bucket.
I am not by nature a pessimist. Really, I’m not. But I do think of myself as a realist, and so, it irks me to hear the media spout the continuous lie that this “economic downturn,” we are facing is temporary and recovery is just around the corner.
The longer we remain in denial, the longer this will last. We should call this what it is: a severe economic Depression; just as serious as the depression America went through 80 years ago. The Average Joe doesn’t recognize it as a depression because there are no visible soup lines. But if there are no soup lines, what was it that I just witnessed on TV?
During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, churches and charitable organizations would set up Soup Kitchens at churches and other locations where a person could get a bowl of soup and a chunk of bread. For many people, this was their only meal of the day, and the lines would sometimes stretch for blocks.
To most folks today, it doesn’t look like we’re in a depression because we’re not seeing those soup lines. But as radio host Alex Jones and others have aptly pointed out, because a majority of the needy are receiving food stamps, those soup lines are invisible. Food stamps and EBT cards are the new soup lines. You can’t readily see America’s new “soup lines,” but they are everywhere.
With over one in ten Americans finding themselves in such straits that they are forced to apply for aid under the food stamp program, the situation in America today is actually a lot more desperate than surface images would indicate.
Just as in the 1930’s, we are in this one for the long haul. There’s no sense hoping the economy will turn around any minute; this is going to take some time, and it is bound to get worse for a lot of us before it gets better.
This is why I and my fellow bloggers at this site continue to plead about the need to make preparations. Like I said, I found this report on the Convoy of Hope inspiring, but it also shook me up. For heaven’s sake, do what you can now; get as much storable food as you can manage, even if it doesn’t seem like it will be enough, and especially if you think you can’t afford to. You must do what you can to provide some kind of a buffer for yourself and your family against what is coming.
The day may soon arrive when food stamps won’t be available; certainly, the typical family’s allotment is already insufficient against rising prices. Those dentists and optometrists who volunteered at Convoy of Hope were sorely needed because California recently had to stop providing dental and eye care to the poor. California had to drop dental services for the poor because there just isn’t enough money in state coffers. Something had to go; it was either food or dental.
How long, I wonder, will a bankrupt state continue to be able to provide funds for food? At some point even that will run out.
Meanwhile, those lines are only going to get longer; do what you can now to make sure you won’t have to stand in one.
Previously by Rock: “Is It Worth It To Go To College In Times Like These?”