Food Shortage In The Homeland

car line CBS

This is the fourth in a month-long series of reports called "Making Ends Meet" about how families are coping with the tough economy, unemployment and smaller retirement accounts.

It's only mid-morning in Logan, Ohio, but, as CBS News Correspondent Cynthia Bowers reports, some of the food is already running out. Twice a month in this small town on the edge of Appalachia, groceries are given away. You could call it a "line" of the times, because in a growing number of American communities making ends meet means waiting for a handout.

The line stretches down the road and out of sight and most, like Ginger Walls, never imagined they'd be here.

She says of her food situation at home, "Well, my cupboards aren't real full, and my kids don't have a lot to choose from."

Many are embarrassed, and didn't want to talk, but they are far from alone. Each year an estimated 30 million Americans go hungry. Some places, like Logan, have it worse than others.

"We're not really on the bottom, but we're at a point where we still need the help," says Rob Calender.

Virginia Luzier admits to needing the help. She says without the trunkful of groceries she'd go hungry.

"I just live on Social Security and that's not a very good living," says Luzier.

The line makes clear that any economic recovery has bypassed this community. When it started two short years ago, volunteers fed 17 families. Now it's well over 500.

Goodyear is just one of at least a half dozen plants around here that have relocated or closed in the last few years, taking with them thousands of jobs: jobs that have been counted on for generations and jobs that won't be coming back.

Not everyone is unemployed, but many live on minimum wage. You have to make hard choices, they say, and the free food they receive means more money to clothe the kids or in some cases buy life-saving medicine.

"I don't have enough money to buy three of my prescriptions," says Mary Travis. "I'm on nine, so you have to do without."

And food inventories are dwindling.

At the local office of America's Second Harvest, a hunger relief organization that gave away 81 million pounds of food last year in Ohio alone, donations are drying up at a terrible time.

"We've seen an 18 percent increase in the demand for services in just the first three months of this year," says Lisa Hamler Podalski. "We're seeing a new phenomena. Last year's food bank donors are now this year's food bank clients."

Back on the line, Walls wonders about priorities and waits with so many others.

"I find it very hard to see Americans providing for all the other countries, and yet we're suffering so," says Walls. "It's just not right, we're supposed to look out for ourselves: our brothers and sisters."
  • Jaime Holguin

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter