The Great Food Divide

There’s no way that [anyone] should have a million [or a] billion dollars [when] there’s people starving.”

― Tupac Shakur

Today, as I spent the morning paying our bills, as per my bent the first check I wrote was to our Community Food Bank.

It’s been said that the five counties that constitute the Central Valley here in California are the West Coast equivalent of Appalachia (long synonymous with abject poverty), and here are some heart-rending statistics:

The Fresno metropolitan area alone has a population of approximately 965,000.

Almost 241,000 (25%), have a per capita income of only $19,752.00, which is below the poverty line, and depend on our food bank for their daily food.

Of them, 90,000 (almost 1/3) are children.

It only takes $10.00 to feed a family of four for one week, given the food bank’s purchasing power to buy in bulk (and 98% of all donations goes to purchasing food – only 2% goes to overhead).

How, in the name of God, can there be so many hungry in this valley, the richest agricultural area in the country, with revenue over $6 billion in crops annually?

How, in the name of God, can there be so many hungry in this country, given its collective wealth?

How, in the name of God, can anyone with wealth live with themselves knowing that, while they want for nothing, people – children – are hungry?

How, in the name of God, can we allow such poverty, such hunger?

It disgusts me.

I am too ashamed at things like this – that we have food banks at all – to call myself an American.

– Bill

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