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Great Neck Notebook: September 21, 2011

By the Numbers

Reporters will tell you that the jobless rate in America is 9.1 percent.   But if you add in the number of people who have given up looking for work and add in the people who are working part-time because they can’t find a full-time job, the real rate of unemployment is over 15 percent. If you’re African American, the jobless rate is over 25 percent.  If you’re Hispanic, the rate is over 30 percent.

There are now over 46.2 million Americans living in poverty—nearly 1 in 6 of our neighbors, and the number of Americans without health insurance is over 48,000,000. Thousands of Americans have been unemployed for more than two years. Could you feed yourself and your family if you had no income for two years? Could you pay your rent or mortgage if you had no income for two years?

Many formerly middle class and upper middle class families who used to be the ones giving to charities are now on the other end of the charity pipeline. They are the ones who need assistance.

What does poverty look like? It means you don’t have enough money to buy the food you need. It means that parents and children are going to bed hungry every night. It means that senior citizens are getting by on one meal a day. It means that homeless veterans, who can’t find work don’t know where they will sleep tonight—or where their next meal is coming from.

In Nassau County, it is estimated that one out of every four children are not getting the nourishment they need to sustain healthy growth. One out of four. Right here, in our neighborhood, around the corner from where we live.

We see people in need every day at the soup kitchens run by the Interfaith Nutrition Network. We see record numbers of hungry children and families. We never turn anyone away. We never charge anyone for food, or clothing, or other necessities—like soap and toothpaste and personal care items. But we need your help to continue our mission of helping our neighbors in need.

If you’ve had some good fortune in your life, please consider sharing it with those who are struggling. Join me in supporting the Interfaith Nutrition Network, which feeds over 5,000 men, women, and children a day, and provides shelter for more than 100 homeless neighbors every night.

Donations may be mailed to: Dave Golbert, 7 Lee Court West, Great Neck, NY 11024. Please make your check payable to: The Interfaith Nutrition Network. Your donation—in whatever amount you can afford—has the power to change someone’s life for the better.

As the sages tell us, “Blessed are those who share with those who have less.” Remember the widow, the orphan, and the stranger, for we, too, “were strangers once.”