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Poverty, hunger are growing across the U.S. not seen since Depression

A recent issue of USA Today had a four page pullout section that stood out like a thumb just hit by a hammer.

The headline on this section — “Hunger in the USA.” The cover story addressed something that dates back to the Great Depression or even before that, in the Middle Ages — gleaning. Yup, children, adults and the hungry were picture roaming through apple orchards with bags slung over their shoulders looking for fallen apples.

This is America. What are children doing looking for food among our nation’s orchards and fields? How can we listen to the rhetorical platitudes of politicians when we have children begging, yes begging, on our nation’s streets for food?

Politicians and their ardent supporters would have us believe that we are not in a depression. Well, the photos depicted on the pages of this national newspaper would have me believing differently.

Nine million elderly folks are finding themselves impoverished following the great collapse of our nation’s economy. These are the folks who built our nation. There are vulnerable adults who are now scavenging for food.

Typical community food shelves are finding it more difficult to offer assistance because there are fewer and fewer people who have the wherewithal to stock these food outlets.

USA Today even outlined the states most widely impacted by this hunger epidemic. Get this, California, Nevada, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and North Carolina report that over 15 percent of the population is experiencing food insecurity. In America?

This is not equatorial Africa or the impoverished ghettos of central America. This is the United States of America. An organization that is fighting this war on hunger claims that there are nearly one billion hungry humans on this planet. One billion. How many of them are Americans.

No, this is not an attempt to skew an election. This is the reality we are faced with in the greatest country on the planet. If this nation’s most vulnerable are in peril, what lies ahead if we follow this same path we are on? It’s a question every American should be asking.

Keith Hansen

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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