Give thanks, and a little more

Posted 11/22/22

As you pass the stuffing this year, be grateful.

Yes, your stuffing cost more this year. Your puny turkey cost more, and it was harder to find.

The natural gas (or oil) keeping your dining room …

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Give thanks, and a little more


As you pass the stuffing this year, be grateful.

Yes, your stuffing cost more this year. Your puny turkey cost more, and it was harder to find.

The natural gas (or oil) keeping your dining room warm costs more. Those lights hung over the table cost more to keep lit than ever before.

The wine’s more expensive. The cranberries!

Don’t mention the gas, in the tanks of all your relatives’ vehicles that brought them from all over the east coast to this Thanksgiving feast.

We’re all feeling the pinch of rising inflation.

But at least you’re eating. At least you have a home. At least there’s a table in your home bearing the burden of a gluttonous celebratory feast.

Remember, as you listen to the mumble of voices gathered around the holiday bird, so many of your neighbors have only the sound of rumbling stomachs ringing in their ears. Some families are struggling to keep warm in a vehicle; or under the sagging canopy of a makeshift tent.

Too many Ocean State residents are hungry this year, as evidenced by the Rhode Island Food Bank’s 2022 Status Report on Hunger.

“While the state’s economy rebounded this year, the effects of inflation have left many Rhode Islanders in a state of greater food insecurity than before the pandemic,” according to a press release accompanying the report.

The Food Bank’s trying to sound the alarm. They’ve noted “that 31% of Rhode Island households — one in three — are unable to meet their basic food needs. And for families with children and people of color, the number is even higher.”

“The current rate of food insecurity in our state is deeply concerning,” says Andrew Schiff, chief executive officer of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. “The COVID-19 relief benefits that served as a cushion for Rhode Island’s most vulnerable residents during the pandemic have ended just as inflation has raised prices across the board. It’s an untenable situation for so many families.”

The 2022 Status Report on Hunger found that, “from July 2021 to July 2022, food costs in Rhode Island went up by 13%” and “home heating oil costs are up by 43%.”

“We’ve heard guests say they’re skipping meals to make sure their kids don’t have to,” said Denise Greene, executive director at West End Community Center in Providence, one of the Food Bank’s member agencies. “And their SNAP benefits are used up long before the month is over.”

Last fiscal year, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank distributed 15 million pounds of food — including 2.7 million pounds of fresh produce — through its 140 member agencies across Rhode Island.

“Currently, the Food Bank serves 63,000 people per month, an increase of 20% over the previous year — a result of increased costs and the end of many Federal pandemic benefits that kept many families afloat,” according to the agency.

The Food Bank has provided a few simple steps that an everyday, well-fed Rhode Islander can take to help ensure their neighbors’ food security.

“Urge Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation to reinstate the expanded Child Tax Credit and increase SNAP benefit levels in the upcoming Farm Bill,” the Food Bank urges citizens. “Call on the Governor to use state funds to make school lunch and school breakfast free for all students. Thank legislators in the General Assembly who voted this year to enact the state Child Tax Credit, fund SNAP incentives, and boost funding for the Food Bank.”

To find more ways to help, contact the Food Bank and visit their website, rifoodbank.org.

Meanwhile, enjoy your meal, and look forward to the rest of the holiday season. But also, reach out and help your neighbors. A clean conscience aids digestion.

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