A middle-class American family made less last year than in 1989, according to a new Census Bureau report released on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Forbes magazine this week reported that the 400 wealthiest Americans doubled what they were worth a decade ago and “finally gained back all that they lost” in the 2008 economic collapse.
“You want to know why the American people are angry and disgusted and frustrated?” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)asked in a Senate floor speech on Wednesday. “That's why,” he thundered.
The Census Bureau also reported that:
- The typical middle class family has seen its income go down by more than $5,000 since 1999 after adjusting for inflation.
- Average male workers made $283 less last year than they did 44 years ago.
- Average female workers earned $1,775 less last year than they did in 2007.
- A record breaking 46.5 million Americans lived in poverty last year.
This 2-minute story is about a powerful new solution that will help feed starving people in every city, town and village in America as told by Howard G. Buffett, Eva Longoria, Bono and Ben Afflect. This is a message funded by the Howard G. Buffett foundation and directed specifically to the world's most productive, hard-working men and women -- America's farmers.
In a recent Parademagazine article, Buffet (Son of Warren Buffet) was asked what made him turn his attention from global hunger to hunger in America:
"Before, I never understood how difficult things were in this country, and how they were getting worse. In America, hunger is hidden; people are ashamed of it. I was in Tucson at a food distribution [center] and noticed a woman walk in with three kids. She looked around and then walked back out. I later found out it was the first time she had ever asked for help, and she was embarrassed."
"Last year I attended a Thanksgiving dinner at Harris Elementary School right here in Decatur, where I learned that 92 percent of the kids are on free or reduced-cost lunches. I spoke with some parents who told me that school lunch is the best meal their kids get all day. That shocked me because the school sits in a community that has the largest food-processing facility in the world for corn and the second largest for soybeans; 1,500 to 2,000 train cars roll out of those plants and through these kids' neighborhoods every day. The irony of that is unbelievable."
"In this country, the number of people who are living on the edge, who exist paycheck to paycheck, who have been foreclosed on, has exploded. If you're choosing between medicine or food, between school supplies for your kids or food, between paying the electric bill or food, those are tough choices—and they happen every day. Yet I have hope, because the single biggest difference between fighting global hunger and fighting hunger in this country is that I don't believe we can get global hunger down to zero. There will always be conflicts and infrastructure challenges [abroad]. But there's no reason we cannot put hunger out of business in America."
Here are the ways Howard Buffett is trying to achieve his goal of putting hunger out of business in America:
Map the Meal Gap: Feeding America first published the Map the Meal Gap project in early 2011, with the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and The Nielsen Company, to learn more about the face of hunger at the local level. In August, 2011, with the support of the ConAgra Foods Foundation, child food insecurity data was added to the project.
At the link you can interact with their map, which reflects data from 2009 and 2010, to begin learning how the residents in your community are struggling with hunger and what the anticipated needs will be to meet future goals. There is a donation link, a food bank locator, a "Tell Congress" take action link and further information about the project.
2014 Hunger in America Study: Hunger in America, also known as the Hunger Study, is the largest study of charitable food assistance in America. Hunger in America 2014 is the most recent in a series of Hunger Studies, which are conducted every four years. Feeding America is the primary sponsor of this study, with generous funding from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
The purpose of the Hunger in America 2014 study is two-fold. First, it will collect information on the current work of the Feeding America network of food banks. This includes talking to agencies that get food and grocery items from food banks (agency survey) and from the clients they serve (client survey). The information collected from this study will help Feeding America, and its network of food banks, to better understand the agencies they work with to provide hunger relief. Second, it will also identify issues faced by both the agencies and the clients they serve. Findings from this study will give Feeding America the information they need to fight hunger in America for the next several years. Feeding America will use the data to advocate for government assistance such as TEFAP, CSFP, and SNAP. The findings will also support fundraising efforts by helping to educate donors and the public about the scope of services provided by food banks.
Invest an Acre :The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Feeding America and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) has established Invest An Acre, an innovative partnership that engages U.S. farmers in helping provide food to their neighbors.
Through Invest An Acre, farmers are able to invest the proceeds from one acre or more of their crops in Feeding America to support their local food bank. This is the first effort to mobilize farmers on a national scale to support hunger relief.
Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, providing food assistance to people in every county through a network of more than 200 food banks.
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation brings resources to support this vital work by creating an opportunity for every U.S. farmer doing business with ADM to invest a portion of proceeds at the point of sale, either when the farmer signs a contract or delivers the crop.
ADM is one of the largest agricultural processors in the world. It operates the world’s premier crop origination and transportation network, connecting crops and markets in more than 75 countries. ADM transforms oilseeds, corn, wheat and cocoa into products for food, animal feed, industrial and energy uses.
Feeding America has 53 food banks operating in communities near ADM locations.
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation is underwriting all Feeding America costs as well as a public awareness campaign. ADM is managing the accounting and transactions with farmers and the local food banks. All of the proceeds from Invest An Acre will go towards helping the hungry in the local community.
At the St. Francis de Sales church on B-129th Street, the church hall has been taken over by Occupy Sandy—an offshoot of the still-active networks of Occupy Wall Street. Supplies have been driven here from all over Brooklyn: back there are piles of blankets; on the tables here are diapers, baby food, and cleaning supplies; over there, clothes (grownup, child, baby); more than a hundred pairs of shoes lined up neatly on the bleachers. Residents of the neighborhood wander around the hall, filling bags. In the front entranceway Occupy volunteers are unloading cases of bottled water from a truck, handing the heavy cases one to the next, a bucket brigade to the back of the church. The volunteers move fast but the job lasts more than half an hour—it’s a big truck. In front of the church, long tables have been set up on the sidewalk, where volunteers are serving hot food and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.
The Red Cross doesn’t accept individual donations of household goods—these things, it says, need to be cleaned, sorted, and repackaged, and all that takes up more time than they’re worth. It asks for financial donations only. New York Cares requires its volunteers to go through orientation sessions, all of which are full till late November. But Occupy, as you would expect, has a different style.
Be sure to read the entire article at the New Yorker, and not just because it portrays the occupy movement in a positive light, it's because this is what occupy is doing when they aren't protesting in the streets. They're holding educational sessions, planning and organizing sessions...and when there is a need in the community -- as there is most certainly after the devastation left by Sandy (Mayor Bloomberg says as many as 40k NYers may need to relocate!) -- occupiers are able to step up and get the ball rolling with amazing speed.