While some argue whether “silly cow” is an appropriate insult (I don’t think it is, but then I don’t like most gender-neutral personal insults either), the US Department of Agriculture reports that increasing numbers of Americans are unable to afford enough cow byproducts like milk, cheese and hamburger, as well as other kinds of food, to provide sufficient nutrition for their families.
The Washington Post reports:
The nation’s economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track, according to a new federal report, which shows that nearly 50 million people — including almost one child in four — struggled last year to get enough to eat.
The magnitude of the increase in food shortages — and, in some cases, outright hunger — identified in the report startled even the nation’s leading anti-poverty advocates, who have grown accustomed to longer lines lately at food banks and soup kitchens. The findings also intensify pressure on the White House to fulfill a pledge to stamp out childhood hunger made by President Obama, who called the report “unsettling.”
Last year, people in 4.8 million households used private food pantries, compared with 3.9 million in 2007, while people in about 625,000 households resorted to soup kitchens, nearly 90,000 more than the year before.
The report’s main author at USDA, Mark Nord, noted that other recent research by the agency has found that most families in which food is scarce contain at least one adult with a full-time job, suggesting that the problem lies at least partly in wages, not entirely an absence of work.
Food shortages, the report shows, are particularly pronounced among women raising children alone. Last year, more than one in three single mothers reported that they struggled for food, and more than one in seven said that someone in their home had been hungry — far eclipsing the food problem in any other kind of household.
Perhaps these women are worth at least as much attention as sexist language in blog comments.