Over the past month, the American economy has collapsed into a depression, with the most significant unemployment spike in history. Millions of people have just lost their jobs, and as we’ve been documenting, food bank networks across the country are becoming overwhelmed.
We recently said that some food banks had seen an eightfold increase in the number of people asking for food. The National Guard has been deployed to food banks in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Phoenix, to make sure supply chains do not breakdown, which if food shortages did materialize, it could lead to a “social bomb,” triggering civil unrest.
“I’ve been in this business over 30 years, and nothing compares to what we’re seeing now. Not even when the steel mills closed down did we see increased demand like this,” said Sheila Christopher, director of Hunger-Free Pennsylvania, which represents 18 food banks across 67 counties.
Today’s food bank lines resemble ‘breadlines’ from the 1930s. However, this time around, Americans are not standing around city blocks waiting for soup, they’re sitting in mile-long traffic jams outside donation centers waiting for a care package.
The run on food banks was first documented on March 30. Drone footage captured a traffic jam of hungry Americans waiting to pick up food aid at a facility in Duquesne, Pennsylvania.
— Andrew Rush (@andrewrush) March 30, 2020
As a reminder, to visualize how America went from “the greatest economy ever” to “Greater Depression,” in just one month, take a look at the chart below:
The run on food banks will only increase as the depression worsens in April.
On Monday, a drone captured dramatic footage outside a South Florida food bank that measured “miles-long” row of cars, reported Daily Mail.
The footage is from outside the Feeding South Florida food bank, located in Broward County.
The food bank reports a 600% jump in the number of people in recent weeks as South Florida’s services economy collapsed, resulting in hundreds of thousands of job losses.
Stephen Shelley, president and CEO of Farm Share, which distributes food to food banks, churches, schools, and other nonprofits, said the amount of people asking for food at food banks is unprecedented.
“The volume is at a level we’ve never seen before,” Shelley said, adding that his company is running at full capacity at the moment to handle the demand surge. He said the amount of food that he is moving to keep pace with demand is “overwhelming the system.”
A perfect storm is brewing deep in America, one where overwhelmed food bank networks could see supply chain disruptions that could trigger food shortages in various low-income regions, that would undoubtedly leave many people hangry – and possibly incite social unrest.