UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 13, 2009

MIDDLE CLASS JOINING THE POOR ON FOOD STAMPS

CNN - As the [Detroit] area's economy worsens --unemployment was over 16% in July -- food stamp applications and pantry visits have surged. Detroiters have responded to this crisis. Huge amounts of vacant land has led to a resurgence in urban farming. Volunteers at local food pantries have also increased. But the food crunch is intensifying, and spreading to people not used to dealing with hunger. As middle class workers lose their jobs, the same folks that used to donate to soup kitchens and pantries have become their fastest growing set of recipients. . . There have been plenty of people struggling in Detroit for a long time. What makes this recession different is the type of people coming in. It's no longer just the homeless, or the really poor. Now it's middle class folks who lost their $60,000-a-year auto job, or home owners who got caught on the wrong side of the real estate bubble. Many of these people have never navigated the public assistance bureaucracy before, and that makes getting aid to them a challenge. "They have no idea where the DHS office is," said DeWayne Wells, president of Gleaners, the food distributor.

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