Fieldwork

Supply and Demand

We asked you to show us how close the recession is to your doorstep. Here’s our latest entry. (Send in yours.)

Name: Miranda Everitt

Location: Two miles from my apartment in Oakland, Calif.

Recovery/downturn: I took this photo on assignment for the Alameda County Community Food Bank, where I work as the communications coordinator.

On a Saturday morning at Prescott-Joseph Center, volunteers (most of whom are also clients) pack boxes with shelf-stable milk, orange juice, rice, beans, bread, and fresh produce from the Alameda County Community Food Bank. We haven’t seen signs of recovery. In September 2008, when the economic crisis was at its peak, we took 2,048 calls for same-day food on our Emergency Food Helpline. In September, we took 3,770. That’s an 83 percent increase—and the third month in a row we’ve set a record for calls.

As federal, state, and local safety-net programs are slashed, the Food Bank is losing funding and commodities while demand continues to climb. Our community has been stepping up with incredible amounts of volunteer time (equal to 29 full-time employees), food drives, and donations. But there seems to be no end to this recession in sight for the people we serve—those who have always been our most vulnerable.

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