Protect Our Safety Net, Protect Our Families

Close to $2 of every $10 of income Americans received last year were from federal benefits like unemployment, food stamps, and social security according to Moody’s Analytics. For every job opening in the US there are 4.6 unemployed workers according to the Labor Department. So what do families facing these challenges do? Read how Francisco is dealing with being unemployed and how he feeds his family (written by Food Bank Volunteer John VanLandingham).

Francisco fell off an 18-foot ladder at work 13 years ago, injuring his back and shoulder. Since then, the disabled 53-year-old Antioch resident has endured three surgeries on his right shoulder. A scar from his most recent operation travels over his shoulder connecting his collar bone with his shoulder blade. Efforts to return to work that only aggravated Francisco’s injuries. “I am disabled now two years,” he says as he waits with about 500 others for a monthly Food Bank food distribution at the American Legion building in Antioch. “I have six people to feed. I usually get two bags of food. It saves me a lot, maybe 25 percent of my monthly food budget,” says the father of four. His oldest child, 24, also is unemployed. Francisco adds that he has been coming to the monthly food distributions for three years after learning about it from a disability worker.

An article in the New York Times says, “Throughout the recession and its aftermath, government benefits have helped keep money in people’s wallets and, in turn circulating among businesses… Because benefit payments tend to be spent right away to cover basics like food and rent, they provide a direct boost to consumer spending.” One benefit not mentioned is the Emergency Food Assistance Program that provides food through food banks and other hunger relief organizations to families like Francisco’s.

You can help by letting your representatives know that you care about these programs and ask that while they work to reduce the nation’s deficit they protect our safety net. Dial (202) 224-3121 to reach the Capitol switchboard and ask for your Member of Congress.

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