America Divided Cut

US Food banks struggling to feed hungry during COVID look forward to Biden’s fixes to SNAP program

Matthew 24:33

Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.

Mark 13:29

Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door.

Luke 21:31

Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

… And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. (Luke 21:11).

… Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken; (Luke 21:26)

The world is fast approaching a “climate apartheid” where only the wealthy can afford basic food resources in the face of fatal droughts, famine and heatwaves, while the rest of the world suffers. Revelation 6:5-6 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

US Food banks struggling to feed hungry during COVID look forward to Biden’s fixes to SNAP program

Cynthia McFadden and Kenzi Abou-Sabe and Jake Whitman and Kevin Monahan

Sun, February 7, 2021, 4:46 PM USA Today

DETROIT — Kinda Makini-Anderson has been providing hot meals to households on Detroit’s east side throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. By her count, Makini-Anderson’s nonprofit Inner City Youth Group has provided over 150,000 meals in the last 10 months.

“We have always been there since 2009, assisting the community,” she said on a recent snowy morning after delivering breakfast to a local family. “But since the pandemic, it’s been an overload.”

For the vast majority of the families she helps feed, however, these meals are not the only support they rely on to keep afloat. Makini-Anderson estimates that 98 percent of the households she serves are already getting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits — the government assistance program formerly known as food stamps. But the benefits provided by the nation’s most important program for the hungry are simply not enough.

Experts and advocates say the pandemic has exposed a system that is outdated and inadequate.

Joseph Llobrera, director of research for the food assistance team at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities think tank in Washington, said research shows SNAP isn’t doing job No. 1: feeding the hungry. “People run out of benefits two to three weeks into the month,” he said.

Food relief organizations — from small church pantries and major regional food banks to organizations like Makini-Anderson’s — have been shouldering a two-fold burden since the pandemic began: supporting the millions of Americans newly facing food insecurity, who don’t participate in or don’t qualify for SNAP, while also serving those already receiving assistance that doesn’t get them through the month.

Before the pandemic, the average SNAP benefit was about $1.40 per person, per meal. During the pandemic, everyone on SNAP was bumped up to the maximum benefit of $2 per meal, but the families already at the maximum, those most in need, weren’t given any additional funds.

Last month, the Biden administration challenged the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which manages SNAP, to fix that but also to take an earlier-than-planned look at the basis for the benefit itself. Maximum benefit levels for SNAP are dictated by something called the “Thrifty Food Plan,” which is supposed to reflect the minimum cost of a nutritious diet.

But the Thrifty Food Plan hasn’t been revised since 2006 and hasn’t been dramatically reassessed since the 1970s, only increasing in line with inflation throughout the years. The plan wasn’t due for reassessment for another two years.

“The Thrifty Food Plan is based on the assumption that people have a lot of time to price-shop and prepare meals from scratch, but the reality is that many families are juggling different jobs,” Llobera said. “Building a food plan that assumes you’re going to soak beans overnight rather than using canned beans — how realistic is that?” Llobrera noted the plan is also based on an outdated assumption that people spend the majority of their income on food, when in reality, most people now spend the biggest chunk of their paychecks on housing.

In the meantime, food banks have filled the gap.

“We’ve been at this for, what, 10, 11 months? And unfortunately, we have not seen a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Brian Barks, president and CEO of Food Bank for the Heartland, which serves 93 counties across Nebraska and Iowa.

When the pandemic began, NBC News reported that Barks’ food bank had been so inundated by requests for assistance in applying for SNAP benefits that it had a backlog. Eventually, the food bank had to take down its advertisements about its SNAP assistance program because it was simply getting too many calls to handle.

“We would get such a huge call volume that with our limited staff, we just had no ability to keep up,” Barks explained.

But the amount of food they had to purchase to keep up with the need went up, and up, and up. It went from $80,000 per month before the pandemic to a staggering $1.5 million that the food bank now spends each month to feed the pantries — and the people — that rely on them.

“There are some serious questions that Americans are asking themselves every day. ‘Do I get the medicine that I need or do I buy food? Do I pay the electric bill or do I buy food?’ The people who are in that gap that don’t qualify for SNAP benefits, and those who do and still need food assistance, that’s a big gap,” he said.

Barks’ food bank is not unique in this regard. Across the country at Feeding San Diego, which serves San Diego County and surrounding areas, 700,000 more meals are being distributed every month compared to the same time last year.

Barks said the changes to SNAP announced by the Biden administration last month have him feeling hopeful.

“SNAP is a political football. It always has been,” he said, “But it is a key, essential tool that every food bank needs in order to do the work that we do. We need help from the federal government, the state and local governments, to do this work. People who are waiting for food banks to solve the food insecurity problem in our country, we’re not gonna do it.”

In fact, the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks, of which both Food Bank for the Heartland and Feeding San Diego are members, conducted a study showing that for every meal provided by one of their food banks, SNAP can provide nine.

That’s concerning for people like Makini-Anderson in Detroit, who often see struggling families that don’t qualify for the boost that SNAP benefits provide.

Families like Barry Chambliss and Melissa Michaux’s: With five kids under the age of 10 and dramatic losses to their income during the pandemic, Chambliss and Michaux have been scraping by. But when they applied for SNAP in the spring, they were denied.

“On the last denial that I’ve gotten, it said that I need to turn in verifications of end of employment for jobs that Barry hasn’t had in years,” Michaux said.

Efforts to challenge that decision and get in touch with a case worker led to unanswered phone calls and frustration, the couple said.

“People used to be able to go inside the office and actually complete the actual application, and they can have assistance with that,” Makini-Anderson noted. “[Now] it’s hard for them to even navigate through their phone to complete this application.”

It’s something Stacy Dean, the new deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at the USDA, is acutely aware of.

“This is what in my new job is keeping me up at night, is who are we missing?” Dean said. “The process of applying for SNAP benefits is tough. It’s incredibly rigorous. And trying to carry that out in a remote environment has made it, I think, a little bit more difficult both for the states who are running the program and the people who need the benefits.”

The cost of administering SNAP is split between states and the federal government, but as 6 million more people in America were added to the SNAP rolls last year, many states were essentially being asked to do more with the same or fewer resources and to do it all remotely.

“One of the things we want to do is ease up on some of the rules to make it easier for states to run the program,” Dean said.

She acknowledged that food banks have stepped up. “They can meet an emergency need very quickly,” Dean said. “Unfortunately, in this environment, they have been asked to do so much more, which is to provide food for longer periods of time and to supplement the federal food programs.”

For those who help meet the need, that’s foreboding. After the Great Recession in 2008, it took a decade for food insecurity to fall back to previous levels.

“It is taking every ounce of energy that we have in order to try to help those people who have been added to the rolls of those who are now food insecure,” Barks said. “Anything, anything that can be done to alleviate the pressure that food banks are facing, to purchase and distribute food will benefit the hunger relief organizations in a positive way.”

Back in Detroit, things are looking up for Chambliss and Michaux. When reached for comment, a spokesperson from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said the agency couldn’t comment on the particulars of Chambliss and Michaux’s case due to confidentiality requirements. But since a “Nightly News” story aired earlier this month focusing on the couple and their children, Makini-Anderson said the agency has reached out to the family offering to provide help.

Kenzi Abou-Sabe and Kevin Monahan reported from New York. Cynthia McFadden reported from Connecticut.

Revelation 6:5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

(Commentary; balances are symbolic for economic transactions and ‘prices’ for things such as wheat and barley grain, bread, olive oil, wine, various food commodities. These are common throughout the world and are considered by most as the ‘staples of life or living.’)

6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

(Commentary; The world will have reached a point of ‘climate apartheid’ where only the wealthy can afford basic food resources in the face of fatal droughts, famine, locust swarms and heatwaves, while the rest of the world suffers. Only the extreme rich can afford expensive cooking oil, baked pastries and loaves of multi-grain breads, fancy wines and related luxurious food stuffs. Yet, the ‘average peasant’ has to work for an entire day’s wages just to be able to buy enough wheat to make a loaf of bread. Great and severe income inequality is rampant worldwide. The ‘few’ own a massive disproportion of the earth’s wealth and bounty. Billionaires vs billions of poor. The ‘Crown Prince’ owns 60,000 (6) tonnes of wheat in his store houses or graineries while the few grain silos in the Port of Lebanon were destroyed and its people are threatened with expensive grain shortages that require humanitarian assistance.)

7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

(Commentary; ‘pale’ suggests disease, death and dying. Disease and death are the normal results for those subjected to endless warring. Cholera, famine, infection, no clean water, no housing, no medicine, no hospitals, etc., all play a part in continuing to kill those who were not killed in direct fighting. These are normally the ‘innocent’ or the civilians, not the military. Hell follows, why? Because the vast majority of peoples in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere have rejected the gospel of salvation by Jesus Christ for just over 2,000 years. They follow Satan’s lies (Islam) and deceptions with other false religions (Hindu deities) and various deceiving doctrines. Even though they appear ‘innocent’ by the world’s standards, they are none-the-less ‘unsaved’ because of their rejection of Christ. Time is up, they unfortunately die because of the effects of war, in an unsaved state … hence ‘hell awaits them’. This is truth)

Seven (7) References to ‘BE WATCHING or WATCHFUL.’

Matthew 24:42; Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Matthew 25:13; Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Mark 13:35; Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.

Luke 21:36; Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man

Luke 12:37-39; Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

1 Thessalonians 5:2-4; For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (Be Watching).

John 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.

John 14:29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

Luke 21:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

Mark 13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.

Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

‘Increasing Like Labor Pains.’ ‘Fearful Sights.’ ‘Perilous Times.’ ‘Men’s hearts failing with fear.’ Great Convergence of Signs.’ REDEMPTION IMMINENT.

In His Service,

Night Watchman

Paul Rolland

Night Watchman Ministries

Make Your Decision for Christ NOW!!!!!!! Time is Up!!!!!!!

Jesus Christ’s Offer of Salvation:

The ABCs of Salvation through Jesus Christ (the Lamb)

A. Admit/Acknowledge/Accept that you are sinner. Ask God’s forgiveness and repent of your sins.

. . . “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

. . . “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10).

. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).

B. Believe Jesus is Lord. Believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; that He was both fully God and fully man and that we are saved through His death, burial, and resurrection. Put your trust in Him as your only hope of salvation. Become a son or daughter of God by receiving Christ.

. . . “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:15-17). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).

C. Call upon His name, Confess with your heart and with your lips that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.

. . . “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10).

. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (John 1:8-10).

. . . “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 2:2).

. . . “In this was manifested the love of god toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:9, 14-15).

. . . “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10).

. . . “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

. . . “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).

. . . “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16).

. . . “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts: 4:12).

. . . “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).

. . . “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

. . . “But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12).

True Church / Bride of Christ Spared from God’s Wrath:

 Romans 5:8-10. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Romans 12:19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 1:10. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

1 Thessalonians 5:9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

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