Columbia, SC — I volunteer at a food pantry in Lexington County, and the number of families coming for groceries has really risen in 2014.
I don’t know the reasons for this increase. I suspect a combination of cutbacks in unemployment assistance at the state level and the failure of the GOP-controlled U.S. House to extend unemployment insurance are factors with this tragedy.
The saddest cases are those who walk home with their groceries because there is no public transportation, like buses, in Lexington County. Since there are practically no sidewalks or street lights in our county, it is dangerous, especially if they have children with them.
Nevertheless, all the recipients of this food expresses their gratitude for what they receive. If it weren’t for the grocery stores, farmers and the good people of our community who supply the food, the poor would have nothing to eat.
We can do better. Whether it be through job training, educational opportunities, better wages, social programs, local transportation improvements or unemployment insurance, we need innovative and more charitable solutions for the hungry and unemployed.