As millions of Americans lined up at shopping centers around the nation last week, Black Friday had a completely different meaning for hundreds of Floridians who began lining the streets for free food vouchers. Because there were only 3000 vouchers available, many showed up well in advance of the Saturday giveaway, hoping to ensure that they could receive one of the vouchers worth about $120 and redeemable for a bag of food containing pork, rice, beans, milk, bread and other items.
Any American who still thinks there is nothing wrong with our economy and the direction we’re headed need only look to this latest example for evidence that things are not at all as pleasant as they may seem:
(Video Report Below Excerpts and Commentary)
Some people began to line up last Friday. Many of those who waited in line for hours were either unemployed or they live on a fixed income and can’t afford any extras.
“It’s very, very hard,” said Mosas Hernandez. “We need something free because right now, I lost my job, I need to pay my rent, so believe me it’s very hard.”
The line wrapped around the block outside the voucher distribution location. Concerned about safety, the City of Miami Police Department was in attendance to keep order and look after the sick and elderly.
“It was tough to get donations?” asked CBS4′s Stephen Stock.
“It was tough for everybody. Tough for everybody,” Guitierrez told him.
Perhaps no one symbolized the change in economic fortunes more than Angela Llamas who, with her friends and family, stood in line for more than 24 hours.
The government’s social safety nets are weakening under the unprecedented strain of entitlements and emergency funds. For now the private sector is picking up the slack. But eventually, with half of our available workforce without labor, nearly 50 million on food stamps, and 100 million Americans living in poverty or right on the edge, not even private sector donations will be enough. What happens next is anybody’s guess, but we’d venture to say that people won’t be lining up peacefully in the hopes of acquiring food. They’ll take whatever measures they need to in order to get the essentials like shelter and a meal. If that means rioting in the streets or mass raids on grocery stores, then that’s what they’ll do.
Video Report from CBS: