As empty-nesters with kids and grandkids spread out across the country, we generally have low-key Thanksgivings at our house. It is usually just me, my wife, and the turkey. And two hopeful dogs. On occasion, local family members may drift by for dessert. In a way, I miss those days when we would host a houseful of people. I especially miss the night before when I would savor the upcoming four-day weekend and settle in Wednesday night to watch the original Planet of the Apes. I admit it’s a dumb tradition, but it’s mine.
Rick Moran pointed out earlier in the week that the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner this year is expected to spike about 20%. Inflation is hammering everyone, starting at the farm and going directly to your table. But you already know that you are paying more for less for everything, so the prospect of a pricier Thanksgiving was probably something you hoped you could avoid but expected anyway.
Normally, around this time of the year, people start to think about the less fortunate more than usual and tend to boost their donations a little bit more. However, as the shadow of unemployment continues to grow, and with the price of everything from eggs to energy showing no signs of coming down any time soon, people are struggling like never before in recent memory. Matt Margolis had a piece about how some people are thinking of canceling Thanksgiving altogether this year because of cost concerns. On the face of it, that is not the worst thing that could happen in the course of history. And of course, there are those who would say that it is about time that the middle and upper classes felt the strain of economic hardship. I won’t touch on how Thanksgiving is a racist holiday for colonizers. We’ve been getting that lecture for years now.
But thanks to the pandemic and now inflation, more and more people are relying on food banks. The website Tasting Table quoted Zuani Villarreal, senior director of communications at Feeding America, as stating that 80% of food banks across the nation are seeing either consistent traffic or a spike in people who need help. And people are giving less as well. The site says that, according to Christopher Tan, who is the president and CEO of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, online grocery shopping means that people are buying less food and have less to give. While that can be construed as just being a trend that arose during the pandemic, keep in mind that with less money to spend, people cannot afford to donate.
In Salt Lake City, Fox13 reported that Shawn Clay, who runs the Salt Lake City Mission, said that they are getting ready to feed over 85,000 people this holiday and that “We find people struggling that weren’t struggling before. We got people coming to our food pantry that have never been to food pantries before.” He explained that charity is seeing the working poor and even people from “good zip codes.” He describes them as people who have fallen on hard times with the cost of living skyrocketing. But Clay also added that people are still trying to donate, even if it is a single can of food.
Some will say, “It’s about time those people found out what it is like.” But if even the middle class is turning to food banks, that is an indicator of just how poorly the economy is being managed from the price of fuel to the price of food. And it also means that there is less to share. One does not solve poverty or grow a country by creating more poor people. One only exacerbates existing problems by doing that. But not to worry, the president has told us that the economy is “strong as hell” and that the inflation we are experiencing is only a transitory problem. So everything should be fine by Christmas, right? New Years? How about Groundhog Day? Next Fourth of July? Well, the administration may have to get back to us on that.
One thing is for sure: at the Thanksgiving table at the White House or in Delaware, wherever Biden is celebrating, and at the tables of all of his cabinet members, media stars, and other members of the wealthy woke, there will be plenty to eat. And they won’t give a passing thought to the growing ranks of those who have fallen on the aforementioned hard times.