“All politics is local,” said Tip O’Neill years ago, a concept that can be paraphrased over and over. For example, Economy. Education. Religion. War. Crime. And Hunger. Particularly Hunger.

Lots of political leaders have been screaming about last year’s stimulus package, claiming it accomplished nothing except more debt; helped nobody. My son is manager of a food pantry in Austell, right in the center of last year’s devastating floods, but what I’m writing is about hunger, the hunger that impacts millions of families in this richest country in the world.

The hunger faced by millions of citizens who have never asked for assistance before, who lost jobs through no fault of their own, and find themselves living on the edge.

People who live just down the road, or across the street, or in our own neighborhoods. And many of them were helped directly by the stimulus program, in thousands of communities across this nation.

Austell’s Christian Action Mission Program (C.A.M.P.) has held four mass food distributions in the last year, handing out FDA food to anyone who stated that yes, they need help feeding their families. It was first come first serve, with cars lined up hours ahead of time.

This describes the first distribution in October 2009:

  • The numbers tell the story only in the lines; it’s between the lines where we find context.
  • Six hundred families in only three hours, and 55 pounds of food for each family, food they hadn’t anticipated.
  • Seventy volunteers when only 35 had signed up, when only 35 were expected.
  • Fifty chicken biscuits to feed the volunteers breakfast, and then 50 chicken sandwiches at noon, donated by a local restaurant happy to be a part of the effort, to do whatever they could.
  • A total of 30,000 lbs. of food – your tax dollars at work.
  • Sadly, there were more cars than boxes of food. Some had to be turned away.
  • And for context: five men pushing an out-of-gas car, a clunker not traded in… because not to push that car all the way through the distribution center would have meant no food; breadwinners going home with empty hands.

After four distributions, the program is halted for the time being – no more funds for the moment. In all, C.A.M.P. distributed 191,400 pounds of food to 2,700 families.

I’m guessing that means something like 12,000 to 14,000 people going to bed without stomachs growling.

Not everybody who goes to bed hungry is trying to lose weight.


Mary Willis Cantrell

I have always been a story-teller (Southern born and Irish descended) and a dreamer (e.g.,  Democrat in dark Red state). btw, I am aka Cokefloat since I am safely retired from a major soft-drink company well-known in the Atlanta area. And I've finally decided to come out of my closet... to date most of my writing has always been in the dark. Some ghost-writing, rewriting for others, copy-editing, contests, The Vent. That kind of thing. I want to put my stories down on paper, at last, and maybe even see a dream come true. Yeah. Like my candidate will finally win. Sure.

  1. Wanda Argersinger

    A powerful statement in words and deed. I’m thankful that a program like this exists to help those who so desperately need help. Bless everyone involved and you for sharing the story. I hope it encourages others to take action and help those less fortunate.

  2. The action people have to take is not to vote for Republicans, punitive pols who look at an official position as an opportunity to punish with impunity.
    The main reason Republicans objected to the stimulus program was because it sent money directly to people who would use it, instead of letting it flow through the hands of middlemen who would take their cut. Grants to states for capital projects supplanted the “normal” strategy of financing construction with bonds, which generate fee income for the financiers, interest income (exempt from federal tax) for investors and revenue for those who service the bonds. The income stream for local contractors is the same. So, of course, once the dollars were in hand, the pols were quick to claim credit for something they had opposed.
    It’s those politicians that need to be punished, but, like abusive parents, they probably won’t be. Their victims are convinced that, if they object, it will only be worse. Democrats smooching with these vile creatures don’t help. When you don’t oppose abuse, you enable it.

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