Dear Ms. Zimet:
Thank you for speaking at the Hunger Conference in Latham on April 11th. You, as well as the other speakers, know the subject well and obviously care about the hunger struggle that many of your constituents face every day.
Thank you for accepting the position of Executive Director of Hunger Action Network New York State. Your energy, intelligence, and savvy attitude will boost the ripple effect of this organization to a new level…something New York State needs.
Finally, thank you for your openness at the conference. When you spoke about young graduates moving in with their parents because they can’t get jobs to pay off their student loans, you were speaking openly about a situation which many are trying to keep quiet.
New found poverty is sometimes a subject which people don’t shout about because they’re embarrassed. The symptoms of this newly found situation are often covered up because the people experiencing it are asking themselves “Where did I go wrong? What did I not do that I should have done?”
I have a name for those in this situation, Ms. Zimet. I call them the Struggling Poor.
We’re experiencing the same phenomena in our part of Ulster County also. Over here in Boiceville, it’s manifesting itself in different ways:
Seniors who never, ever thought about food pantries are now finding themselves in the food pantry line on Monday afternoons at 2:00.
Working people are struggling to buy groceries. They, too, are meeting at the pantry on Mondays at 2:00 if a family members is off work at that time.
Food pantries in the past focused on shoppers in a specific geographic location. We now serve the people who can get to us. Some pantries in cities are open until midnight to serve those who get off work at 11:00 p.m.
And, pantries have our own struggle for food. At Reservoir Food Pantry, fresh vegetables are important. We scrounged $$$ and bought a long line van which volunteers drive weekly to Latham for as much produce as we can bring back. We routinely run out of this fresh food at the end of every pantry shift.
Our situation is precarious, Ms. Zimet. We joke that we’re teetering on homelessness ourselves because we’re in a shed on a food plain. The shed part is fine. We’re desperately trying to find a place to move it where we’re out of a flood plain. So far, we’ve had no luck. The Olive Flood Advisory Committee, Woight Engineering, and the Town Board are doing the best they can with what we all have. But, the writing is on the wall. So far, we’ve had no luck.
But, enough of our woes Ms. Zimet. Thank you for attending the conference. Thank you for speaking. Thank you, very much, for sharing your energy which seems to know no bounds.
If ever you’re in the Ashokan Reservoir area on a Monday afternoon, please visit our pantry. We’ll be honored and pleased give you a tour of our 12’x16’shed. If ever you need a human interest story, I have many to share. I’ve been working in a food pantry for almost 10 years.
Peace and food for all.
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