Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Companies announced several more thousand lay-offs today. For every person laid off, there is a family that will live a leaner, hungrier existence. They'll do without food, necessities, and clothing.

If they haven't already discovered the joys of shopping at the dollar store, they soon will. Things like papertowels, tissues, and fresh fruit will be a distant memory. So will doctors, children's vaccinations and replacement filters for the heater.

I've been there. Unemployment is roughly one half of the person's salary--if they qualify. Unemployment is not taxed so at the end of the year, Uncle Sam shocks you with a demand for taxes due. And unemployment only lasts as long as it takes you to get a job at the nearest fast food joint or gas station. Once you take that job, you're employed and no longer eligible for unemployment.

Food pantries truly try to stem the flood of hungry, needy families, but the demand is greater than the supply of food. Many of the companies that used to routinely donate surplus food are now in financial trouble themselves. People and churches in the private sector that used to give so generously of their wealth are now on the other side of the fence.

It's a normal reaction for us to be ready, willing and able to help--yet hesitate as we don't know exactly how to do so. Some hold back, not wanting to embarrass or humiliate the very people they want to help.

I can only give my personal thoughts on this, garnered from my personal experience. A gift card from a grocery store or super Wal-Mart will never go amiss. Stick it in one of the many "encouragement" cards that are on the market. Add a note of well wishes or "wish I could do more". Every dollar not spent on groceries out of the family budget can go on other pressing items like shelter and heating.

We all hope and believe that things will get better eventually. But in the meantime, a little boost never hurts. So if you have it to share, please do. And if you don't have monetary resources, perhaps offer to babysit or tutor a child or help someone with a resume. All good things. All ways to Upsize our neighbors in a downsizing economy.



  1. Thanks for the tip. There's someone at church I really want to help but wasn't sure of a good method. I got hot for a loop when I sat down and asked him how he's doing last Sunday. So many people are hurting right now. It's awful.

  2. We are seeing the same thing here. No employment or very little of it and the bigger industries in our area are closing up. A small town already, you can imagine what happens when the entire town depends on the big factory and now it's gone. Last I checked, a month ago, there were 30 jobs available in a 2 hour radius of where I live. Since then two more factories have shut down or laid off.

    It's one thing to say an industry is going down. But to follow the threads of that and show how that one family is in decline is scary. The loss of job means less spending. Less spending means other companies decline and lay off. It cycles and cycles until mom and pop shops close from overhead and specialty shops disappear... on and on it goes.

    My generation grew up with conveniences down to the specifics of store types like Bath and Body. Those are luxuries this economy can't support. It will be a shock to scale back on a generation which has never understood the concept. And stopping the downward spiral is quite a job for our new president to handle.

    My best to all of you in this position. We're in it together. You are not alone.


  3. I too live in a tiny border town with no jobs, the closest two factories forty and sixty miles away. They have both had layoff's and cut employee's hours. The community already seemed to be in a depression before the entire USA was hit with this downward spiral. Our local food shelf can barely support the needs of the community, and it's terrifying to imagine what might happen if things do get much worse.
    I just pray that the economy does turn around, for all of our sakes.