Karen Stumbaugh (12/7, Letters, “Hungry during the holidays”) is correct that Harvesters and its network of agencies serve the “unemployed, elderly, disabled” and “extremely poor” in Greater Kansas City. But we are also seeing an increasing number of working poor families at our doors.
In fact, nearly half (48 percent) of those turning to Harvesters’ network for emergency food assistance have at least one adult in the household who is working. With stagnant wages and rising costs for everything from food to gasoline to utilities, more of the working poor need help to get by.
Assuming that an individual who has a job cannot be in need is naïve. Many households are just one or two paychecks away from needing assistance themselves. A hospitalization or a car repair can put a struggling family in a food pantry line.
Further constricting the definition of “need” and turning away working families during hard economic times may keep our shelves fuller, but our hearts will be emptier.
President and CEO of Harvesters