Unhappy Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving today in the US, a day that has its roots in the tradition of harvest festivals. But, as the BBC reports today, in New York the number of people who can’t share that harvest are as high as one in six. Blame it on the sub-prime mortgage collapse or the worries about the economy? Sure, these things matter, and will only exacerbate the situation but, as Joel Berg of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger observes:

“Given that hunger continued to increase in the city, even when the economy was still strong last year, it is no wonder that now, when the economy is weakening, lines at pantries and kitchens are getting even worse.”

The Coalition’s website offers suggestions on what people can do to change the situation: donate or volunteer. These are important short-term fixes, and I’d encourage folk in New York to pitch in, but will they fix the underlying problem of increasing poverty in America? Unlikely. That, for better or worse, requires a great deal more politics, and political engagement.