Higher fuel costs are increasing the cost of food. The push towards corn-based biofuels has increased the cost of food too. And a stagnant economy has tightened the budgets of Americans everywhere. Economic numbers put forth by the government never account for food and fuel costs when determining the “state of the economy,” allowing them to pretend that financial times are fine for most folks, but the soaring fuel and food costs are really starting to hurt average Americans, especially single-parent families and those at the lower rungs of the payscale. As families are forced between paying the bills and feeding themselves, more and more are turning to the nation’s food pantries for help. Sadly, many of them may find that those cupboards are bare too.

Across the country, food pantries are running out of stock. Donations are dwindling, in part because families can’t afford to donate as much or as often, but also because manufacturers have focused on better, cost-cutting production methods, leaving less overstock for donations. And the third factor at play is the federal government, whose practice of buying food from farmers (read subsidies here) to stabilize prices has decreased over the last few years as farm prices have stayed stable. Less government buying means less goverment donations. USDA donations to food pantries has declined 70% over the last three years.

Just as the lack of water in the southwest is a harbinger of tough times ahead, so too is the decrease in available food for the needy at a time when the number of needy is on the rise. In years past, my family has always participated in food drives from the post office. We’ve donated money to local food banks around the holidays. We’ve tried to do our small part. This year though, we’re going to have to cut back on our giving. We’ll still be giving, but not as much and not as often. We’re not going hungry, but we need to tighten our belts like everyone else. And I suspect that this scenario is being repeated in millions of homes across the country. People who used to give a lot are cutting back. People who used to give a little aren’t giving at all. People who couldn’t afford to give before may now be the people standing in line.

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, remember to actually be thankful if you have enough to eat. Fact is, most American families are just one major medical problem away from standing in line at the food pantry. Fact is that many American families are now cutting food budgets to pay for gas so they can get to and from work, and the grocery store. As fuel and food prices continue to increase, many more may join the line.

And yet in Bizarroland, aka Bush’s America, the president today praised the economy as he pardoned two turkeys in the Rose garden. Here are a few of his comments:


“This Thanksgiving, we are grateful for a harvest big enough to feed us all
— and millions more.”

“We’re grateful for working Americans who have given us the longest
period of uninterrupted job creation on record and a prosperity that lifts our
citizens. “

These comments, sprinkled into a speech about pardoning turkeys, show America just how out of touch their president really is. Bush may have spared the lives of two turkeys today, but he obviously doesn’t have a clue about the lives of actual people, and I don’t think he really cares.

(cross psoted at Bring It On!)