1. R. C. Rybnikar
    R. C. Rybnikar June 3, 2020 at 5:09 pm | | Reply

    Eleven years ago, at 55, my professional academic position was eliminated and I have only found occasional part-time work since. With two masters degrees I have found myself waiting in line with others to use the food cupboard in my local suburban Boston town. This service has helped me to at least feed my family. People arrive in all kinds of vehicles, in all manner of dress. I listen to the conversations between others on the line and the matter of fact ways that horrifying situations are discussed and try to keep focused on my book. (I have my own horrors but many are self-inflicted.) Inside, the volunteers never show anything but kindness and during our local COVID shutdowns they are delivering to the entryway to my apartment building. Any embarrassment is exclusively mine but, rest assured, I am terribly embarrassed. I saw the aerial views of all those vehicles waiting in Vermont and knew that these were variations on the realities of the USA that a great many people are just getting by and any income disruption will likely be devastating. We need to keep that in mind as people volunteer to judge the worthiness of the expressed need of those picking up food.

  2. Debbie Marshall
    Debbie Marshall June 3, 2020 at 5:14 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for this Erica. It is appalling that so many of us rush to judgment when people are accessing vital food. So many of us are one step away from needing the food bank. We are one humanity.

  3. Toshen
    Toshen June 4, 2020 at 3:21 pm | | Reply

    Thank you, Erica, this is a story that needs to be told and heard.

  4. MC
    MC June 5, 2020 at 6:31 pm | | Reply

    I asked the local priest if there were any families that didn’t have a car that I could pick up food for, from the local area? He looked at me as if I was in a different dimension! As if he was so Pious that he had no idea there are people starving outside of his church walls which have been closed since this pandemic started! I worked for the Bishop of Savannah Georgia .

    I came from Vermont. I got a college degree, got married all those things. I had three children, got divorced and lived in severe poverty. But if you were to ask my kids about it, they wouldn’t say that was the case. One actually told the House of Representatives and the Senate legislators in Vermont that the most important thing that any family can do to help teens and young people get through life is to sit down every night and have dinner! Together!

    I can remember a neighbor walking by my house in Georgia saying that’s so sweet you have candle light dinners every night! What she didn’t realize was that I had no electricity but we made through ! Survivors do.

    When this pandemic happened, I decided I would find my own people that would need to have help! Those people were not young people, those are people were the senior citizens who may not have even had the capability to drive & to wait for 2 and 1/2 hours for this food.

    If you could see the faces of these people who were given food and the conversations they had with their neighbors because now they had food that they didn’t have to pay their tiny Social Security money for it, was complete and absolute Bliss! It was Angels working for Angels! It was the right thing to do, at the right time!

    If we learn nothing else, we have learned that our neighbors need us! Whatever it takes, we will get through this pandemic, some of us are willing to help reach those who cannot because of pride or circumstances get the basic nutrients they need. Thanks for recognizing that IDEA Individual Daily Eating Allowance.

  5. Spoon Agave
    Spoon Agave June 6, 2020 at 1:21 pm | | Reply

    Individual Daily Eating Allowance. Probably an idea developed by the Pharaohs in Egypt as they thought about how to feed the forced labor building the pyramids and further refined by the plantation owners in the South to determine how much food in relation to productivity would be allocated for the slaves. Even then they knew it was not a ‘best’ practice to allow their labor to get too hungry. In fact their labor forces, like you found the people in line for government food handouts, were sincerely relieved and grateful. Well, the story goes that, among others, the Jewish slaves did hightail it out of the country and we do find, on closer examination of history that southern slaves had quite a few little uprisings and rebellions so maybe they weren’t as grateful and passive as today’s American poor. Contrast 1900 cars in line for food with the upper 10% of Vermonters who have been the recipients of, depending on how it is calculated, between $270,000,000 and $500,000,000 in Trump tax breaks. If I’m not mistaken, but worth checking, this is the amount every year, not the cumulative. Is it aggravating and uncomfortable to look at it like this? Of course. It’s like that Central American priest said years ago, before being assassinated, “Feed the poor and you are a saint. Ask why they are poor and you are a communist.” You’re a wonderfully perceptive, sympathetic, dedicated person Erica and you certainly aren’t responsible for long lines of undernourished Vermonters. My hope is only that you might deepen your analysis a little. A good reference for where you might go with that is a book you have undoubtedly read, ‘Fast Lane on a Dirt Road: the Transformation of Vermont 1945 to 1990.’ That is Joe Sherman’s exceptionally rich, thorough and well written study. It is an eye opener and well worth reviewing. Arguably one of the best if not the best history of our state. With many observations and sentiments of great wit and humor. One learns, among other things, that as far back as 1960 Vermonters had about the lowest per capita income in the country. After the war an immense surge in agribiz sucked the life out of three quarters of Vermont farms and industrial owners moved their plants to the South for cheap labor. The bucolic scene of placid cows munching in the meadow was just a surface image masking interminable backbreaking work and ever increasing mountains of debt.
    Good luck. I enjoy most of your work.


  6. Judith Clancy
    Judith Clancy June 6, 2020 at 9:30 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for this blog and its posts. I was raised in N.J., and many a lunch was a hotdog on a bun. My brother and sisters (4 of us) ate them almost daily during the summer months and peanut-and-jelly sandwiches during the winter. To this day I cannot stand either but my other siblings don’t dislike them. I think the skinny paycheck was a reason, but as a child, I never considered there was a connection between money and food. I think some people still don’t understand this connection, and hunger in the USA and better nutrition doesn’t show its face unless there are some
    dire circumstances of illness and unemployment. Thank you for writing about this little-discussed problem. Any long-term solutions? Maybe just an ignorant suggestion but I wonder if agricultural summer jobs are available to H.S. students, not only for a bit of money but more to educate them in where one’s food comes from and the industry itself.
    In a rich country and agriculturally rich state, this shouldn’t be happening.

  7. Bess O'Brien
    Bess O'Brien June 7, 2020 at 2:21 pm | | Reply

    Great photos and great story!

  8. Amy
    Amy June 7, 2020 at 10:20 pm | | Reply

    Thank you Erica!

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