Daily Bread for 3.1.23: Demand High at Food Pantries

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will see scattered morning showers with a high of 52. Sunrise is 6:31 AM and sunset 5:44 PM. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 72% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1893, electrical engineer Nikola Tesla gives the first public demonstration of radio in St. Louis, Missouri.

There will be various proposals of state government (for capital spending) or taxation (a flat tax is probably out), but the WisDems and WISGOP proposals come in a context of hunger even during low unemployment. The state treasury may be flush, but many Wisconsinites are not.

Rob Mentzer reports A central Wisconsin food pantry grew fivefold during the pandemic. Leaders expect it to keep growing (‘Led by a Catholic priest in a majority-Hispanic area, the food pantry is a lifeline to hundreds of families each week’):

One of the confessionals at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Abbotsford is filled nearly to the ceiling with boxes of dried beans, rice and sriracha sauce. There are several flats of cereal boxes in the confessional next door.

“Right now, the deal is, you come to confession, you get a box of cereal,” jokes the Rev. Tim Oudenhoven.

St. Bernard’s started hosting a weekly food pantry in 2020, and parts of the church have become overflow storage for dry goods. What started as a pandemic response serving 30 or 40 families has “mushroomed,” Oudenhoven said, to an operation serving 230 families per week and growing. 

Abbotsford, a city of about 2,300 people in central Wisconsin, has become a center for Latino immigration. By official U.S. Census data, the city is now about 40 percent Hispanic. But most residents believe that count doesn’t capture hundreds more who have immigrated illegally or who’ve overstayed their visas. According to state data, the Abbotsford School District is about 62 percent Latino.

And recently, Oudenhoven said, the area has seen an increase in new arrivals from Central and South America, including Nicaragua and Venezuela, as people flee humanitarian crises there.

Note well: This libertarian blogger does not write — and never has — from personal deprivation. (The deserved indictment of the boosters, for example, is that they accentuate supposed gains while obscuring others’ needs.) 

We are usually taught that people require food, clothing, and shelter for survival. Whitewater is far from Abbotsford, yet Whitewater also has residents, long-term and newcomers both, who lack food (or clothing, or shelter).

So, which direction for Whitewater? Will Whitewater’s community address the fundamental needs of her residents, or will they embrace a culture war diverting and distracting us from our fellow residents’ basic needs? A culture war will bring less, not more, to this city and school district. The first six months of cultural fury will recede to reveal years of socio-economic hardship. 

These are not new themes at FREE WHITEWATERSee Waiting for Whitewater’s Dorothy Day, Something Transcendent, and in the MeantimeAn Oasis Strategyand The Community Space

A moral and practical priority: to feed, to clothe, to shelter. 

 ‘Time-traveling’ James Webb Space Telescope sees galaxy 3 times in same observation

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1 year ago

One need only to observe the data provided by The Community Space to see the increasing and ongoing needs. No one facing immediate needs that go unmet has the luxury of time to care about culture war anything, as you so aptly stated. That is a perspective we should all carry.