Everyone has been hit in the pocketbook over the last year or so thanks to rapidly rising prices for just about everything in life: fuel, clothing, utilities, house repairs.
And food. It’s the one essential we can’t do without.
Numerous worldwide events since 2006 have forced food prices up significantly, whether it’s at the grocery store or at the farm market. The impact of weather, civil wars, increased meat production, the price of oil, speculation by futures traders and the rush to shift crops once used almost exclusively for food toward biofuels has impacted global food prices.
In the U.S., most people have been able to keep up, even if it means cutting nonessentials from the household budget. But for 1 billion people around the world who live on less than $2 a day, the doubling and tripling of prices for basics such as rice, corn and wheat has put them in dire circumstances. Riots over food erupted in some parts of the world earlier this year.
Maria Wiering, a reporter for The Catholic Spirit of St. Paul, Minn., is exploring in three editions this summer what some are calling a global food crisis. Her first piece opens with a broad look at the the causes of the shortage.
It’s not just the poor around the world who are feeling the burdens of the food shortage. Hunger centers and food pantries in the U.S. also are feeling a pinch as donations drop and budgets to purchase food are spread thinner.
Diocesan newspapers have caught on to the trend and have offered reports on the plight of some food centers. The Catholic Standard in Washington, this week reports on how one food bank in southern Maryland is facing a “very, very troubling” food shortage.
Elsewhere, the Catholic Times in Springfield, Ill., tells the story of how one Knights of Columbus council is helping keep the shelves of Catholic Charities’ Holy Family Food Pantry well stocked in tough times.
Food banks everywhere are feeling the crunch as well, leaving many poor people wondering from where their next meal will come.