Covid’s other nightmare — poverty and hunger

Starvation and homelessness can be a living death

More than 50 million Americans are now living below the poverty level — an increase of eight million since the deadly virus struck last May.

“We’re talking about families who cannot afford to put food on the table for themselves and their children,” said Zachary Parolin, a social researcher at Columbia University.

The number of people near starvation reached its highest level in half a century after federal stimulus money from the Trump administration was depleted and the Democratic Congress failed to follow up with more relief.

People line up for food at one of thousands of American free pantries.

The struggling 50 million Americans earn less than $26,200 a year, which is what the federal government considers the poverty line.

Poverty levels were tracked from when the coronavirus pandemic crushed the U.S. economy in May and caused a widespread shutdown of businesses, stores, restaurants, and myriad other sources of income and livelihood.

Food banks are working overtime to try and keep up with people’s needs. So far it’s a losing battle.

“Even if the economy begins to recover,” said a food pantry volunteer, “there will be long-term food shortages before families get back on their feet. It won’t happen overnight.”

Easy Street in America is now reserved for the rich. For a whole lot of other people, it’s a hard road.


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