Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like

I think all of us have an indelible impression of the depression: long lines of the disconsolate and downtrodden awaiting handouts of food. Turn on your televisions and see the lines at the food shelters this Thanksgiving eve. It is a troubling image.

I watched a program which reported of the incredibly magnaminous gesture of a farmer giving away hundreds of thousands of pounds of potatoes and other produce that were in his fields. The camera then panned to reveal some of the estimated 40,000 who showed up to share in the benefits of the farmer's largesse . It was like a small reminder of the Grapes of Wrath.

A recent UPI article sited the increase in the distributions of a Southern California food bank but a problem in meeting demand. More than 1000 people lined up in Montebello Park in Los Angeles as early as 7AM last Sunday to get free bags of groceries.

In Sacamento California, a local food bank reported that they had 2000 Thanksgiving turkeys in the deep freeze but needed at least 1000 more. Their 'clients' numbers had risen by more than 20% since August to over 16,000 per month.

If we don't think we are an economy on the verge of collapse, just spend a moment looking around.The depth of the problem has affected virtually all economic strata. Recently, a television reporter standing outside a food shelter turned to a well dressed woman next to her sports car. When he pointed out to the woman that she was not the image we all have of those in need, she said she went on camera to let us all know how far the tentacles of the financial meltdown had reached. She stated that she had worked all her life, but was now unable to find employment and was but one more of the faces of those in need of assistance in making ends meet.

Thanksgiving is a time for us to be grateful for all the benefits that have been bestowed on us. But, the 'us' that is to be considered goes beyond the boundaries of our own lives. When the difficulties stretch as far as the eye can see, we can only hope that next Thanksgiving treats us all a little better.

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