Hunger Is Not a Disease

Walmart and the Minimum Wage

As the country’s largest employer, Walmart gets criticized for many “wrongs” not exclusive to itself.
Although retailers throughout our country only pay minimum wages, people act like Walmart is the only one. They pretend the other retailers pay over $10 per hour and include wonderful benefits like health care and retirement.
Most retailers pay what Walmart pays – maybe even a little less. In our own Woodstock area, retailers not only pay less, they often pay their sales employees off the books.
So, the recent news of Walmart and the minimum wage hourly rate increases to $9 per hour is an excuse to celebrate, if nothing else. Walmart is a trendsetter! Hopefully this move will motivate other retailers to do the same.
Those of us who work in pantries fantasize we’ll have fewer people in our lines. In some locales, I’m sure that may be true.
However, I harbor no fantasies. For one thing, the people in our pantry line are mostly senior citizens too old to work. For another, those young enough to hold down jobs work for companies who aren’t going to raise the wages.
Over the past few decades, we’ve created a food system for the poor. The more affluent in our country shop in super markets. Everyone else shops at the convenience store, pharmacy grocery aisle, the food pantry.
Because of the situation created in recent years by food deserts, the underemployed or unemployed poor struggle to get enough food to eat while also trying to get the right kinds of nutritious foods needed to stay healthy.
Over the years, food manufacturers, farmers, grocers, corporations, foundations, individuals, and the government work together to provide surplus food to feed those in need.
The goal: give food assistance to the hungry.
Since 2006, the need for emergency food has morphed into an ongoing need for food for people from all walks of life.
The new paradigm is to feed them nutritious food regularly because these people can no longer buy the food to feed themselves.
Many find themselves in this position for the first time in their lives. There are now men, women, and children needing assistance to alleviate hunger in every county in every state in the union, as well as the District of Columbia.
High unemployment/underemployment, increasing housing costs, rising poverty, the rising cost of fuel to heat apartments and homes, increasing transportation costs, and the escalating cost of food make emergency food assistance become supplemental food assistance.
Financial safety nets disappear as congress repeatedly cuts benefits.
Today’s pervasive hunger undermines our communities, schools, work force, and national security.
When people don’t have enough food to eat today, it’s impossible to plan for tomorrow. People with enough to eat work better and learn better. They can build a better life for themselves and their families.
This is what Walmart raising the minimum wage is all about.
Raising the minimum wage a few cents or dollars is not about solving the problems of poverty. It’s about feeding the hungry.
Thank you Walmart, and every other employer in our country who pays workers a living wage. You are to be commended. Hopefully this will start a trend toward employers everywhere paying living wages to workers.
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Peace and food for all.
Thurman Greco