Entering The Age Of Marshmallow Fluff

28 05 2008

You know the pantry is getting bare when you’re down to the jar of marshmallow fluff. That happens at food pantries too:

The Emergency Food Bank of Stockton, which operates out of a cavernous warehouse at the fringe of town, now finds customers lining up several hours before it opens at 10 a.m.

That’s because, clients say, the best food — the fresh meat and eggs — goes first.

“If I get here too late, I’ll be left with Marshmallow Fluff for 14 days,” said Sondra Pearson, a mother of seven. “Not,” she added, “that I’m going to turn that down.”

Seems like the perfect irony for the time we live in – the former middle-class, just a short time removed from purchasing suburban McMansions en masse, is now being reduced to jars of Marshmallow Fluff from the food pantry.

According to the article in the Chicago Tribune, food pantries are seeing more and more “non-traditional” clients:

They include more formerly independent senior citizens, more people who own houses and more people who used to call themselves “middle-class” — those who are not used to fretting over the price of milk.

“We’re getting calls all the time from people who want to know how to get here,” said Kristine Gibson, community outreach manager at the Stockton food pantry. “And when I ask where they live, they give an address of a nice neighborhood, one where you or I would want to live.”

And of course, as the middle class crashes and needs more and more, the food pantries are able to give less and less. Donations, some of which came from the very people they are now serving, are down. And costs of fuel eat into what can be trucked in, and into what companies and individuals can afford to give.

This is a precursor to the stock market, that great financial pantry where modern people put up for life’s winter of retirement. As the baby boomers begin retiring and needing to draw out cash from their stock investments, the prices will drop rapidly. The more they need, they less they’ll be able to get.

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