The food lines are back, and they are starting to get really long. But this wasn’t supposed to happen. We are being told that unemployment is very low, even though that is not actually true. And we are also being told that the inflation rate is still only in the single digits, and of course that is not exactly true either. All over the country, middle-class Americans are watching their lifestyles be absolutely eviscerated by the cost-of-living crisis, and an increasing number of them are turning to food banks. So we are seeing very long lines at food banks in major cities from coast to coast, and we are also seeing very long lines in rural locations such as northwest Montana…
Across the Flathead, food pantries are facing emptier shelves and scarcer donations as demand for their services grows.
“Our numbers have definitely been increasing,” Ann Bohmer, co-manager of the Columbia Falls Food Bank, said. “[There’s been an] influx of people and a shortage of supplies.”
The problem of overwhelmed and understocked food banks is not unique to northwest Montana. Food and gas prices are skyrocketing across the country, forcing Americans to pinch pennies and limit purchases. As of last month, grocery store prices were up 10.8% from the same time last year. While supermarket tabs are getting higher, lines at food pantries are getting longer, as Americans struggle to put meals on the table.
You should never, ever look down on those who need to use local food banks.
Because the truth is that with a few bad breaks you could soon need to use one yourself.
Prior to this new economic crisis, a woman in the Phoenix area named Tomasina John had never visited a food bank before, but now her local food bank is an indispensable lifeline for her family…
Tomasina John was among hundreds of families lined up in several lanes of cars that went around the block one recent day outside St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix. John said her family had never visited a food bank before because her husband had easily supported her and their four children with his construction work.
“But it’s really impossible to get by now without some help,” said John, who traveled with a neighbor to share gas costs as they idled under a scorching desert sun. “The prices are way too high.”