46 million Americans go to food banks, and long lines for dwindling food supplies begin at 6:30 AM

By Michael Snyder, Economic Collapse Blog

Children Orphans Eating - Public DomainThose that run food banks all over America say that demand for their services just continues to explode.  It always amazes me that there are still people out there that insist that an “economic collapse” is not happening.  From their air-conditioned homes in their cushy suburban neighborhoods they mock the idea that the U.S. economy is crumbling.  But if they would just go down and visit the local food banks in their areas, they would see how much people are hurting.  According to Feeding America spokesman Ross Fraser, 46 million Americans got food from a food bank at least one time during 2014.  Because the demand has become so overwhelming, some food banks are cutting back on the number of days they operate and the amount of food that is given to each family.  As you will see below, many impoverished Americans are lining up at food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning just so that they can be sure to get something before the food runs out.  And yet there are still many people out there that have the audacity to say that everything is just fine in America.  Shame on them for ignoring the pain of millions upon millions of their fellow citizens.

Poverty in America is getting worse, not better.  And no amount of spin from Barack Obama or his apologists can change that fact.

This year, it is being projected that food banks in the United States will give away an all-time record 4 billion pounds of food.

Over the past decade, that number has more than doubled.

And that number would be even higher if food banks had more food to give away.  The demand has become so crushing that some food banks have actually reduced the amount of food each family gets

Food banks across the country are seeing a rising demand for free groceries despite the growing economy, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family.

Those in need are starting to realize what is going on, so they are getting to the food banks earlier and earlier.  For example, one food bank in New Mexico is now getting long lines of people every single day starting at 6:30 in the morning

We get lines of people every day, starting at 6:30 in the morning,” said Sheila Moore, who oversees food distribution at The Storehouse, the largest pantry in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and one where food distribution has climbed 15 percent in the past year.

Does that sound like an “economic recovery” to you?

Just because your family doesn’t have to stand in line for food does not mean that everything is okay in America.

The same thing that is happening in New Mexico is also happening in Ohio.  Needy people are standing in line at the crack of dawn so that they can be sure to get something “before the food runs out”

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, who has been working in food charities since the 1980s, said that when earlier economic downturns ended, food demand declined, but not this time.

People keep coming earlier and earlier, they’re standing in line, hoping they get there before the food runs out,” Hamler-Fugitt said.

And keep in mind that we are just now entering the next global financial crisis and the next major recession.

So how bad will things be when millions more Americans lose their jobs and millions more Americans lose their homes?

Rising poverty is also reflected in the number of Americans on food stamps.  The following graph was posted by the Economic Policy Journal, and it shows how food stamp use has absolutely exploded in the five most populated states…

Food Stamp Recipients - Economic Policy Journal

I don’t see an “economic recovery” in that graph, do you?

Instead, what it shows is that the number of Americans on food stamps continued to rise for years even after the recession ended.

Sadly, things are only going to get worse from here.  Eventually, the kinds of things that we are seeing happen in places such as Venezuela will be coming here as well.  At this point, young mothers in Venezuela are sleeping outside of empty supermarkets at night in a desperate attempt to get something for their families when morning arrives

As dawn breaks over the scorching Venezuelan city of Maracaibo, smugglers, young mothers and a handful of kids stir outside a supermarket where they spent the night, hoping to be first in line for scarce rice, milk or whatever may be available.

Some of the people in line are half-asleep on flattened cardboard boxes, others are drinking coffee.

Most Americans cannot identify with this level of suffering, but it is coming to our country someday too.  Here is more from Reuters

I can’t get milk for my child. What are we going to do?” said Leida Silva, 54, breaking into tears outside the Latino supermarket in northern Maracaibo where she arrived at 3 a.m. on a recent day.

Just a couple of days ago, I wrote about how the number of Americans living in concentrated areas of high poverty has doubled since the year 2000.

In case you are wondering, that is not a sign of progress.

Just because you might live in a comfortable neighborhood that does not give you the right to look down on those that are suffering.

And when you add increasing racial tensions to the mix, it becomes easier to understand why there is so much anger and frustration in our urban areas.  According to Business Insider, the percentage of Americans that consider race relations to be in good shape in this nation has dropped precipitously…

Over the last two years there has been a 23% drop in the number of Americans who see relations between blacks and whites as “very good” or “somewhat good.”

Today, only 47% of Americans see black-white relations positively, according to a Gallup poll, the lowest it has been in the last 14 years.

The poll also showed that blacks see the relations more positively (51%) than whites (45%), but both percentages experienced sharp declines in the last two years.

All of the ingredients are there for civil unrest to erupt in cities all over the United States.

When the next major economic downturn happens, anger and frustration are going to flare to extremely dangerous levels.  At this point, it will not take much to set things off.

Desperate people do desperate things, and desperation is rising even now in this country.

So how did things get so bad?

Stupid decisions lead to stupid results, and very soon we will start to pay a very great price for decades of incredibly stupid decisions.


This entry was posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News. Bookmark the permalink.
  • diogenes

    46 million dependent on food banks for basic necessities, 20 million illegal immigrants, and 10,000 families that own the controlling interest in America and have more than 270 million of us combined. Nothing to see here. Just move along. Howzabout another round of Two Party Presidential Election Sweepstakes Flimflam? Gee, there’s a great new reality show starting in 15 minutes! Here, have a Coke!

    • Anyone Home?

      This shit is becoming more hilarious than vaudeville–“despite recovery?” Who do these folks think they are kidding? How anyone can keep a straight face reading the narrative sold by the mainstream media today is beyond me.

      • Brockland

        Interesting read:


        Most of those going to food banks may be the working poor, native and non-native alike.

        The U.S. was always dependent on cheap illegal labour; what happens when even that margin gets called?

        • diogenes

          The US has never been _dependent_ on cheap illegal labor and there has never been anything like the current proportion of illegal immigrants in our population. We are not dependent on cheap illegal labor now but a significant segment of businesses are exploiting illegal labor in proportions never seen before — from restaurants to construction to meat packing plants. This can only occur thanks to a — deliberate — failure of enforcement. Just like the deliberate failure to enforce securities laws, etc. etc. in a government in collusion with criminal elements of the 1%. This has the effect not only of displacing American workers but of degrading the wages and conditions of labor and the conditions of social life. By allowing this importation of illegal labor we are importing the degraded conditions and expectations they bring from home and these are transforming America into something no American outside the 1% wants.

          • A.T.

            With all due respect, left-of-centres were not the only people who benefited from John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath”.

            Most high school students were forced to study that novel in my time. One of the few things that stuck with me was the handbills – ad brochures – by California growers promising steady work and good pay to lure the disposessed Okie family into a brutal, saturated farm labour market where the growers could abusively name price and conditions. To a leftie, this is horrible; to a rightist, its righteous.

            Since Discovery, America has always been advertised as the land of opportunity, and there have always been takers. The line between legal and illegal immigration has always been a little fluid. It started with Amerindian failure to enforce borders and surged with Colonial land speculators exploiting and encouraging desperate European settlers to do whatever was necessary to make them rich.

            After the North American Conquest, a new era of organized legal immigration was introduced to discriminate against undesireable whites and all browns. It was very brief. Illegal labour still happened, but was negligible. Very skilled citizen labour was needed and abundant for industrialization, the service industry was a smaller percentage of the pie, and the large multi-generational family farm covered most farm labour needs.

            By the 1970s things decisively changed back again. Its certainly correct that poor enforcement of labour immigration laws created problems – for legal (and mostly Hispanic) immigrants. But why? Its a question always avoided.


            To further illustrate the problem, this NYTimes immigration advocate, representing small businesses, seems view legal immigrant labour and illegal immigrant labour as almost one in the same. This, while espousing the usual pro-immigrant dogma that immigrants take the unwanted jobs etc., etc..


            Anti-illegal advocates often ignore WHY immigration laws were ignored. Its supply and demand and death to those who cannot compete.

            This is clear in the HOW of illegal immigration; only 150 000 temp work visas are issued annually. 150 000 persons for a market using 8 million persons. Its doubtful any due diligence is accorded indigenous labour.


            Many American farms prefer cheap immigrant labour, ostensibly to compete with cheaper labour in other countries. The modern American farm is larger, and if not owned by a corporation, then by a small nuclear family, heavily mechanized and dependent on throwaway seasonal labour.

            Otherwise, (so the argument goes) farms would fold and lands lie fallow, to expensive to farm. Food could be had cheaper elsewhere. There is an obvious problem with this argument, first being only x amount of food can be grown on y amount of land, y being a fixed/possibly shrinking variable in the global economy.

            Agricultural multipliers and after-effects are the basis of most everything else, from construction to domestics. Not to mention the huge illicit entertainments industry which needs throwaway people. All that, ultimately, serves the elites, which is not most of us. Its our place to absorb costs, theirs to collect rents and cream.


            Once the illegals become entrenched, inevitably they gain the bargaining power to demand the rights of legal immigrants, including economic parity and access to social services. Which by this time, has become a low bar, with the decline of standards syncing with substandard expectations.

            That someone like Trump can speak against illegals, only demonstrates that the middle middle class no-longer benefits from illegal labour as it once did. Real costs have crept up declining social strata.

            You can say America is not dependent on illegals, but illegals keep the legit immigrants down as well as the born citizen for the benefit of the elite economy of value-added goods and services. It has always been that way and is now very deliberately and intelligently constructed and defended.

            Every ‘illegal concession from the so-called left (and so-called right, when in power) supports this. The bankster class through the ownership class forces the taxpayer to pay illegals what they will not. Its not about compassion or antiracism, but about preserving profitability past the point where it would not be normally, humanly sustainable. Its set up like a cult of human suffering.

          • diogenes

            Rates of population growth and immigration are a matter of public record going back to the first half of the 19th century. You can consult them for yourself in a good library. They contradict your claims. There have been periods when America permitted substantial legal immigration — at the behest of east coast industrial-financial and real estate interests, who wanted to cheapen labor and sell land, and said so, in Congress — whose records are also public, and contradict you. And there were periods when Congress narrowly limited immigration — as after the First World War — driven by popular concern that our labor not be cheapened. There has NEVER been a period in America with anything like so vast an internal population of illegal alien labor, as there is now, and there has never been a time in America when the number of Americans unemployed reached double digits (in reality, not in official lies) and the number of illegal aliens working here equaled or surpassed them. Your comments are so much dust in the air. The facts disprove them. Who do they serve? America’s workers or America’s oligarchy?

          • A.T.

            The facts support my position, and your opening statements about immigration reducing labour costs and selling land are in agreement. You disagree on the extent to which illegals have become integral to the system, a blind spot that will be self-defeating in the long term for Americans who want their country back.

            The designation of legal and illegal is rather loose and naturally serves the oligarchy with some parallels to how white and non-white did in early America. As of 2015 its estimated from twelve to twenty million illegals live in the U.S.. Give or take eight million is quite a margin for error for a surveillance state.

            The era of strictly controlled immigration began in 1882, with the Chinese Exclusion Act, and ended in 1942, with the Bracero program for Mexican temp workers. This is a period of only fifty years, its end prompted by the labour needs of WWII. By 1952, restrictions based on race, nationality, and ethnicity were relaxed to meet the postwar, post-industrial boom.

            Chinese illegals continued to enter the U.S. despite being outright banned, an estimated seventeen thousand by 1920, while over one million illegal Mexicans were thought to be in the U.S. by 1927. Under the Bracero program, for every legal Mexican crossing over, about five million over time, an illegal also crossed the border. By 1954, an estimated one million Mexicans were crossing annually to meet market demand. Illegals have always been part of America’s labour force.

            The Bracero program was ended in 1964 – almost twenty years after WWII had ended – in a furor of union and Mexican American resentment. However, the Braceros returned as illegals, welcomed by the network of employers and steady illegals who formed a kind of labour underground railroad. Combined, ex-Braceros and outright illegals could amount to ten million persons.

            In 1965, immigration based on individual need met increased demands for labour. From 1965 to 2000, Congress passed 7 amnesties legalizing some five million or so illegals that had built up over time, hardly solving the problem, and perhaps encouraging it by setting out the lure of eventual amnesty.

            So a floating illegal population of roughly ten to twelve million persons, is not unprecedented since at least the 1960s. This would be primarily Hispanic, although other races and ethnicities participate.

            America has depended on illegal cheap no-rights labour, and prospered from it. Then in the late 1990’s the work environment changed. The good jobs were offshored. From that time onward, value-added intellectual, scientific, and commercial activity did not exclusively benefit the indigenous labour force. The baseline indigenous scut jobs that always existed, often met by illegals, remained unoffshoreable.

            Offshoring and its aftereffects reduced the net number of new good jobs created each year versus the number of new and existing workers to fill them, even with preceeding declines in the U.S. reproductive rate. Illegals are perceived as a crisis because the middle class has been destroyed and some thirty million perfectly legal Americans unemployed or underemployed.

            The middle class now relates to illegals more often as competition, not prospective employers. Had jobs not been offshored, well then illegals would probably remain mostly invisible, perhaps even greater in number.

            Focusing on ‘the oligarchy’ and ‘illegals’ as monoliths that can be fixed with a good hammer, is tactical whack-a-mole ignoring their strategic placement to defeat such hammering.



  • SausageAway

    The nation that does not see how poor it is.but hey, it has the biggest military spend,so it must b the best huh?

    • tom

      Yes. The only way that the entire USA could be utterly incinerated and turned into a lifeless desert would be if its government starts a war with Russia. So that is what the government is trying to do!

      • Brockland

        Actually, what the U.S. elites may be trying to do, is start a limited conventional war and avoid going nuclear until its safe to do so.

        Fortress North America could survive a very limited nuclear war; a few American and Canadian cities nuked wouldn’t bother them at all; the trick would be to use as few U.S. nukes as possible on the other side so as not to choke to death on the total global fallout.

        Look at the past pattern; Saddam and Gaddafi both could have inflicted much more harm on their antagonists than they actually did, hoping for a negotiated settlement. They had strong enough conventional forces not to win, but to be costly going down, but were convinced to turtle up rather than fight with everything they had. Then the conventional buffer abruptly dissolved into death an chaos, and they had nothing left to negotiate with, let alone fight.

        Assad on the other hand, made no bones about going out in a blaze of glory should the U.S. attack directly, using his anti-ship missiles against the U.S. Mediterranean fleet while he still had command and communications. Even without nukes, or the poor man’s nukes of chemical weapons, Assad could certainly monkey-wrench the NATO war machine for a generation. For now, Assad remains alive.

        The rise of China’s conventional forces is cited as a serious threat. However, in a world of nuclear weapons, conventional forces exist only to protect the nuclear option. China’s not-so-secret plan since the Cold War was to go nuclear immediately if attacked, since their conventional option was, relatively speaking, a joke. With a more convincing illusion of a conventional buffer, they might be tempted not to end the world until they really could no longer do so as a result of conventional attrition or disabling of nuclear strike options.

        When NATO moved more conventional forces to the East, Russia moved nuclear forces to the West. Russia signaled they weren’t going to play their conventional cards first if attacked, but go nuclear all the way. This is driving NATO warmongers nuts, perhaps even regretting they didn’t embrace fuller nuclear disarmament.

        NATO may think it can take out, or at least seriously degrade, Russian nuclear forces in a first strike, leading conventionally to give them time to neutralize the missile threat, destroying opposing nukes and convincing surviving opposing commanders not to use that which remain. This doesn’t work if the other side doesn’t dance conventionally in turn, but instead retains the doctrine of immediate nuclear escalation.

        Its pretty much the only way a ‘survivable’ hot WWIV could play out, MAD chicken with the other guy set up to chicken out just long enough.

  • Anyone Home?

    People think this is bad now: just wait until the next economic collapse comes. Most people will lose their shirts. Already, 75% of families are living paycheck to paycheck.

  • tom

    Not so much stupid decisions as selfish decisions.

  • kimo

    While 46 million line up on the food line scrounge for crumbs, Corporate America and the US military get fed at the troughs like fat hogs.


  • Silverado

    This is the modern invisible version of the Depression era soup line. You think this shit would stand IF this was out in the open in front of God and everybody?? The warmongering neocons are responsible for this outrage too…