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Food Banks Desperate For Help

As holidays approach, some food banks worry they won’t have enough stuffing and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Food Banks

With food prices climbing to unprecedented levels, and severe supply chain troubles, food banks across the United States are struggling to feed families. Many Americans are frustrated with the soaring costs of food, but for families who already experience “food insecurity,” increased uncertainty is making their lives even more stressful. 

AP News reports, “Supply chain disruptions, lower inventory and labor shortages have all contributed to increased costs for charities on which tens of millions of people in the U.S. rely on for nutrition. Donated food is more expensive to move because transportation costs are up, and bottlenecks at factories and ports make it difficult to get goods of all kinds.”

According to the chief operating officer of the nonprofit Feeding America, Katie Fitzgerald, food banks expanded in response to the increased demands that resulted from the pandemic. Some food banks are making substitutions or stocking smaller sizes of food products such as canned goods. 

The Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland from the San Francisco Bay Area is reportedly spending an additional $60,000 a month on food costs, and $1 million a month to distribute 4.5 million pounds of food. Before the pandemic, however, they were spending just a quarter of that price for 2.5 million pounds of food. Oakland food bank’s Director of Community Engagement, Michael Altfest, explained that “the cost of canned green beans and peaches is up nearly 9% for them; [canned] tuna and frozen tilapia up more than 6%; and a case of 5-pound frozen chickens for holiday tables is up 13%. The price for dry oatmeal has climbed 17%.” 

In Colorado Springs, at the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, CEO Lynne Telford shares the staggering statistic that the cost of a truckload of peanut butter is up 80% from two years ago, mac and cheese is up 19% from one year ago, and ground beef went up 5% in just three months. 

The vice president of sales for Transnational Foods Inc., Bryan Nichols, shared that “[an] average container coming from Asia prior to COVID would cost about $4,000. Today, that same container is about $18,000.”

“It’s unclear to what extent other concurrent government aid, including an expanded free school lunch program in California and an increase in benefits for people in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, will offset rising food prices. An analysis by the Urban Institute think tank in Washington, D.C. found that while most households are expected to receive sufficient maximum benefits for groceries, a gap still exists in 21 percent of U.S. rural and urban counties,” according to AP News. 

Families across the country are worried about being able to put food on the table on any given day, let alone the upcoming holidays. According to Feeding America, “42 million people may face hunger in the U.S. — including more than 13 million children.” They add, “Hunger knows no boundaries — it touches every community in the U.S., including your own.” 

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Economy

Biden spends $1.65 trillion taxpayer dollars while vacationing in St. Croix

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Joe Biden

While vacationing in the island of St. Croix for the holidays, President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law the massive $1.65 omnibus spending package.

The whopping 4,155 pages was supported by only nine House Republicans and 13 Senate Republicans. Majority of criticism from the GOP includes concerns that the bill was rushed and crammed with wasteful spending by a lame-duck Democratic-dominated Congress. The recourse will punish American families by adding to the national debt and exacerbate inflation.

“Today, I signed the bipartisan omnibus bill, ending a year of historic progress. It’ll invest in medical research, safety, veteran health care, disaster recovery, VAWA funding — and gets crucial assistance to Ukraine,” Biden tweeted. “Looking forward to more in 2023.”

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell “praised the bill on the grounds that it represents a real decrease in discretionary spending. He presented it as a positive that nondefense spending jumped by only 5.5 percent, from $730 billion to $772.5 billion, amid an inflation rate of 7.1 percent” writes National Review.

“The bipartisan government-funding bill that Senators Shelby and Leahy have finished negotiating does exactly the opposite of what the Biden administration first proposed,” he said. “This bill provides a substantial real-dollar increase to the defense baseline . . . and a substantial real-dollar cut to the non-defense, non-veterans baseline,” McConnell insisted as negotiations were wrapping up.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, however, stated his strong disapproval of the bill before it even advanced. Affirming a letter from 13 House Republicans, McCarthy demanded the bill is reckless, irresponsible, and a “purposeful refusal to secure and defend our borders.”

For example, it failed to incorporate protections for Title 42, the pandemic policy that allows illegal immigrants to be expelled on a public-health basis, which currently hangs in the balance at the Supreme Court.

National Review adds, “The funding in the bill, which averted a federal government shutdown before the new year, includes an allocation of $45 billion in defense assistance to Ukraine. Some Republican priorities, such as Electoral Count Act reform and a bigger military budget, were nested in with Democratic appropriations, such as increased funding for Medicaid and food stamps.”

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