Monday, October 20, 2008

When I Was Hungry ...

This evening was my congregation's monthly night to bag groceries for the Arlington Food Assistance Center. We filled 350 bags with rice, beans, veggies, and soup. The volunteer coordinator at the center told us that they've seen a serious uptick in clients over the past couple of months -- almost 40 percent increase in the number of folks served each week here (from 800 to more than 1,100) in one of the metro area's more affluent inner-ring suburbs.
One of the women bagging with us tonight works for Wachovia. She was telling us of the huge decline in the retirement plans of their 100,000 employees as the financial crisis dropped Wachovia's stock from the $15.00 range to less than a buck over the course of three or four months. Throughout the period employees were reassured via e-mails from management that everything was fine.
It struck me speaking with her that it is somehow perfectly fitting that the Bush era began with Enron and will end with the financial crisis, and throughout it has been the folks who work for a living who have been the victims. Now more and more of them are coming to places like AFAC. They are hungry. Who will feed them?
Oh, it was a beautiful autumn day today with a palpable sense of seasonal change in the air, and I voted.

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