Increasing food insecurity among Americans

As a staff photographer for San Antonio Express-News, William Luther may have done more than anyone really knows to help hungry Americans at this Thanksgiving.

Correspondent Lee Cowan said, “I heard that politicians are calling each other,’Have you seen the pictures?'” “And they didn’t have to explain it. They already knew what –” did you see? Include image? ‘”

The· The photo he’s talking about is this drone shot taken on April 9, with over 10,000 people, their cars parked bumper-to-bumper in the vast San Antonio parking lot, waiting for food. Was there.


William Luther, San Antonio Express-News / AP

The image spread by word of mouth. “I think it really helped clarify what people really have difficulty understanding,” Luther said.

If there was any doubt that COVID was deepening America’s hunger crisis, the painting dispelled it.

The people of San Antonio Food Bank, and hundreds of volunteers like Paul Drammond, haven’t seen the procession stop yet.

“It’s like you keep thinking that it’s going to end, and not only is it not over, but the need just grows,” Dramondo said.

San Antonio Food Bank food distribution line. During the pandemic, many relied on food banks for the first time to support their families.

CBS News

There were thousands of other food distributions across the country, just like the big ones in Dallas / Fort Worth last week. What all these lines have in common is that many have never sought food.

Cowan asked one recipient, Don, “What would you do without them?”

“Well, maybe I’ll start growing my food in the backyard!” He laughed.

“I think we’re relying too much on the charity food system right now,” said Diane Schanzenbach, director of the Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research. She found that in the first months of the pandemic, the number of Americans who couldn’t eat enough jumped from about 8 million to about 30 million.

“This revealed some big holes in our safety nets, but they are holes that Congress can fix,” said Schansenbach.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, as many as 7 million people have been enrolled in the federal food stamp program (now known as SNAP). Schansenbach said Americans need to increase these profits by at least 15% to survive, but negotiations on the next COVID bailout package are stalled in the Lame duck parliament.

“Don’t they believe that so many people are hungry?” Schansenbach said. “Are they going out to see what’s happening in these food banks and food pantry?”

The most affected were blacks and Latin Americans, especially those with children.

Catherine Win, a mother of five, lost her job as a housekeeper in San Antonio during COVID. “For example, you have to decide whether to pay the bill or go buy groceries, which could turn off the water or electricity the next month or something,” she said. It was. “It depends on it now.”

Hardship is nothing new to San Antonio. Since 2013, the city’s overall poverty rate has been between 18 and 20%. This is almost twice the national average.

In 1968, a CBS News documentary hosted by Charles Clart put the fight against hunger in the city into the living room of everyone. The one-hour special show has made the hunger of the wealthiest countries in the world unwavering.

Watch the full broadcast “Hunger in America” ​​of the Peabody Award-winning “CBS Report” first aired on May 21, 1968.

Hunger In America, 1968 News Documentary


When a boy named Jerry told Father Ralph Lewis, a Catholic priest who lived and worked with the poorest Mexican-American in San Antonio, he couldn’t afford to pay 35 cents for lunch at school. The camera that was shot.

Cowan has now retired from the priesthood at the age of 85 and found Lewis, who still lives in San Antonio.

“Poor people need the help of those who have them,” he said.

“Does it change over time?” Cowan said.

“That’s why we have to work hard to change it,” Lewis said.

Cowan met him at the Inner City Development Community Center, which also has a food bank. This is a program started by Lewis after the documentary and has since fed more than 3 million hungry San Antonios.

“The world is full of hungry people. You find four, you find hungry,” he said.

A food bank in the Inner City Development Community Center in San Antonio.

CBS News

It’s no exaggeration to say that Lewis couldn’t have imagined such a busy or big San Antonio Food Bank. Eric Cooper, president and chief executive officer of the food bank, said the warehouse holds about two weeks’ worth of food. He walks in line on a daily basis to find out what he is serving.

“Without the food bank, we wouldn’t have been able to do that,” said one beneficiary.

In April, he was in the middle of that endless line and hungry apologized for having to wait for a long time.

“I wanted to make sure those families knew I was sorry,” he said. “And instead of being greeted like,’Yes, we’re here for hours,’ I was greeted with this,” God blesses you, you know, thank you. … “

No family left empty-handed that day. Bread and fish-like miracles take place almost every day here and across the country.

“I think we’re experiencing a season of struggle in our lives. COVID-19 has created a lot of struggles, but this season is over and we have to get over it together. Must be. ”


CBS News

Detailed information:

A story produced by Mark Hadspes. Editor: Remington Corpor.

Increasing food insecurity among Americans

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