Word is out – the Great Recession is over! Unemployment is down and the number of people needing Loaves & Fishes has finally stabilized. However, Loaves & Fishes still provided a week’s worth of nutritious groceries to 105,015 people in Mecklenburg County in 2013. So what is contributing to the continued need?
The cost of a week’s supply of basic, nutritious food for a family of 3 has risen 17% in the past 5 years. Surprised? We were too, but we “shop” once a year comparing prices of the same items at a local low cost grocery store.
Thousands of full-time jobs have been converted to part-time with more to come. Part-time means no insurance or sick time, and no guarantee of working the same hours each week, making it very hard to coordinate two jobs.
Although thankfully slower, layoffs are continuing. When a big bank lets more than 500 people go in Charlotte, most of those employees will not need help from Loaves & Fishes. But the folks that make a living cutting their grass, cleaning their houses, providing child-care for their children, and waiting tables at the restaurants they frequent will also be affected.
A client wisely said this year: “The food goes beyond just the meal.” We are fortunate that you make possible the meal and beyond – that our neighbors aren’t alone in their struggle to make a good life for themselves and their families and the knowledge that our community cares and shares out of our abundance. We are deeply grateful for all those who partner in this mission by donating time, money or food. We look forward to our 40th year of ministry with hope of a decreased need, but with confidence that Loaves & Fishes will continue to go “beyond the meal”.