‘it’s Not Your Fault’: Some Furloughed By Shutdown Turn To Charities For Food

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(Erin Hull, The Denver Post) downtown McDonald’s at midday to voice displeasure at minimum-wage jobs that push them to food stamps and other public assistance. “It’s not easy living paycheck to paycheck,” said Dakota Bosma, 27, a McDonald’s employee until recently. “It’s just not right that I had a full-time job and needed food stamps to get by.” Although the report, “Fast Food, Poverty Wages,” does not give the specific costs for Colorado workers on welfare, other state breakouts show that California leads the country with $717 million spent in welfare for those workers. The study was completed by the UC-Berkeley Law Center and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The study defined public assistance as including food stamps, Medicaid for adults and children, temporary assistance for needy families, or TANF, and the federal earned income tax credit. “It’s pretty outrageous that workers can’t meet their basic necessities even after working 40 hours,” said Corrine Fowler, economic justice director for the Colorado Progressive Coalition. Fast-food workers in 60 cities, including Denver, in August went on strike to complain of low wages and their campaign to press for a $15-an-hour paycheck, about $31,000 a year for a full-time worker. Colorado’s minimum wage, which is tied to inflation, is $7.78 per hour. The average annual income for a fast-food cook in Denver County is $9.10, or an annual income of $18,930, according to May 2012 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The studies drew fire from employment groups who criticized its conclusions. “The reports ignore economic evidence that dramatic wage hikes would make fast-food workers worse off,” the Employment Policies Institute said in a statement. “Fast-food employers, faced with low profit margins and customers demanding low prices, would be forced to replace employees with less-costly automated alternatives.” DENVER, CO: Oct. 15, 2013 Maria Herrera (center), Jason Boccaccio (second from right) and Claudia Esquivel (far right) stand on East Colfax in Denver, CO on Oct.

Top food blogs of 2013

This is obviously nothing new (as anyone who used to have a Xanga account can tell you), but the fact alone that anyone, anywhere, can set up a platform and instantly reach millions of readers is one worth celebrating. So for the fourth year running, were ranking the top 25 food-oriented blogs, ranked according to readership and social media following. Theres plenty of time to argue the merits of what makes a food blog great, be it the amount of breaking news, quality of the recipes, layout, industry usefulness, or wide appeal, but for todays (and previous years) purposes, we took a very objective approach: we tracked down nearly 200 leading food blogs, using “best-of” lists from sites including Saveur and Babble, and then compiled four data points on each of them: the average number of monthly visitors for the past year (using Compete.coms data), and the number of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and Pinterest followers. To arrive at the final 25, we factored in the number of average unique visitors (this accounted for 50 percent of each blogs score) and the data from the three social media components (which accounted for the remaining 50 percent). The blogs with the highest total scores made the cut. While the list didnt change dramatically from last year, there were a few notable differences. The Kitchn made a leap from number six up to number two, and Picky Palate jumped from number 12 up to number five on our list. Skinnytaste , which ranked third last year, fell to number 10 this year, and David Lebovitz , whose star just keeps rising, jumped from number 11 up to number six. Simply Recipes held onto the top spot for the fourth year in a row. There were also several newcomers, while others fell off the list entirely. This year we welcome Bakers Royale , Chocolate & Zucchini , Elanas Pantry , Food52 , Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef , Simple Bites , and Thug Kitchen to our list, while we say goodbye to Annies Eats , Gluten-Free Goddess, Mommys Kitchen , Our Best Bites , Pinch My Salt, TasteSpotting , and A Year of Slow Cooking. Falling off our list in no way indicates a drop in quality; reasons vary from blog to blog.

Last week, the group passed out 2,700 pounds of food to 71 different families. And if the government shutdown continues, Hahn said he anticipates his group will continue this sort of offering. The shutdown that began on October 1 has impacted hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors in the Washington region, including people at the epicenter of the partisan shutdown showdown in Congress. Washington-area food banks have responded to an unexpected need this fall created by the shutdown, their efforts already tested by a continued, uneven economic recovery and tough job market. Men and women were on both sides of the help on Monday in Calvert County — those receiving and those distributing food. Those helping out included one person who works for the Department of Justice and another employed by the Navy. CNN agreed not to identify furloughed workers receiving food due to a combination of their embarrassment and not wanting to hurt their employer. “Getting paid helps, but it doesn’t help right now,” said one, who acknowledged she’ll probably get paid once the shutdown ends. Still, the woman said she is struggling to put food on the table. Some told CNN they were living paycheck to paycheck. “The biggest thing (people are feeling) is fear,” said Hahn. “Even a lot of federal employees who know that they’re going to get their checks made up, they’re still going to be shy” if they miss a couple of pay periods. President Barack Obama visited a food pantry in downtown Washington on Monday where he helped make peanut butter sandwiches. He told reporters that he stopped by Martha’s Table because many of volunteers there had been furloughed. “They’re here contributing and giving back to the community and I think that shows the kind of spirit that we have among all kinds of federal workers all across the country, people who dedicate their lives to public service,” Obama said.

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