GodsBigBlog: Hunger in America — It’s Real


Photo by B.F. Newhall

My writer colleague Laura Willis reports from Sewannee, Tennessee, that the economic crisis is hitting people pretty hard in the Southern Cumberland Plateau.

Her organization, the Community Action Committee of Otey Parish, was expecting 200 families to show up for its Second Harvest Food Bank on August 15.

Six hundred families showed up.

The CAC was able to provide groceries for 450 families — but turned away 150.

Two hundred volunteers gave away 18,000 pounds of food that day. And many families waited in line for as long as four hours.

Photographer Stephen Alvarez made a video of the hundreds of working poor standing in line. (Scroll past Alvarez’s wonderful photos to the bottom of the page to get to the video. I had to click on the hi def option to get it going.)



  1. Thank you, Barbara, for sharing this story of need and of abundance. It was quite a day for us to watch how the people waited and waited and waited. I’m usually in such a hurry that if I have to wait 15 minutes in line at the grocery, I’m steamed. And yet these families waited — most of them up to four hours — for one cart of free food. The needs in our community, and our country, are so great.

    Someone asked me what the sound at the beginning of the video is: the scraping-whooshing noise. Since I was inside the building most of the day, I didn’t know. But my husband, who handed out water all day, knew exactly what it was: That is the sound of people pushing their coolers and their boxes along the hot concrete sidewalk as they progressed in line. The line that just never ended until we had to send people away.

    I wonder what it must have been like for the disciples to have watched Jesus feed the 5,000….. our Mobile Food Pantry was just a glimpse of a miracle of those proportions. Thanks be to God!

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