Last month, a Gallup survey revealed that more Americans than Chinese are having trouble putting food on the table.
When I first read the story, I was shocked.
As bad as the Great Recession is, aren’t we Americans better off than the everyday Chinese? On a personal level, don’t we have it better than the millions in China living under Communism?
Looks like, the answer is "No."
We were better off in 2008, when only 9 percent of U.S. citizens found it difficult to keep hunger at bay. That year, according to Gallup, 16 percent of Chinese struggled to put food on the table.
But by 2009, the "hunger" numbers between the two countries were almost equal. In the U.S. 16 percent of those surveyed said there were times when they did not have enough money to buy food that they or their family needed. The percentage of Chinese who experienced the same kind of distress was on one percent more.
While the number for U.S. citizens remained at 16 percent in 2010, the number in China dropped to 7 percent.
And this year, 19 percent of Americans, while only 6 percent of Chinese said that in the past 12 months there were times when they did not have enough money to buy the food they and their family needed.
As we head toward the most decadent day of the year (in terms of feasting), it’s sobering to think of the numbers of families whose stomachs will be grumbling rather than stuffed on Thanksgiving.
Here in Calaveras County, California, the food bank is begging for turkeys. It seems the bank is several hundred short this year as more and more people seek food assistance as. The Great Recession grinds on.
Our food bank expects to help about 900 families with food for Thanksgiving, about 1,300 families with food for Christmas. And this is in a county of about 40,000.
I used to think that our poor, rural county, full of struggling, often hungry, folks, was unique. After the Gallup poll of last month, I’ve changed my mind. Now I think we’re typical.
Do you know the statistics on the hungry in your neighborhood?