(MORE: Fast Food Strikes Go Viral: Workers Expected to Protest Low Wages in 35 Cities Thursday ) More than half of families are enrolled in one or more of public safety-net programs, including Medicaid, food stamps, the earned income tax credit, and the Childrens Health Insurance Program. Jacobs says the real number is probably higher, since the research doesnt include WIC, subsidized housing or school lunches, home heating assistance or state programs. Researchers say a combination of factors create this situation.The high participation rate of families of core fast-food workers in public programs can be attributed to three major factors: the industrys low wages, low work hours and low benefits, the UC Berkeley/U. Illinois report says. The average front-line employee at a fast-food restaurant earns $8.69 an hour, and only 13% of these workers are estimated to have health insurance through their jobs. This combination of low pay and limited work hours yields an average annual salary of only $11,056.14. And while its certainly true that some people flipping burgers and taking drive-thru orders are teenagers, that report finds that only 18% are under the age of 18 and living with their parents. Even when you includes minors who dont live with their parents and college kids living at home, the total adds up to just under a third of all fast food workers. (MORE: Fast Food Strikes: Unable to Unionize, Workers Borrow Tactics From Occupy ) Of course, fast food companies arent the only ones that rely on minimum- and low-wage workers; big-box retailers like Wal-Mart have also come under fire for what they pay employees. But researchers found that 44 percent of restaurant and food service workers were enrolled in one or more assistance programs, the highest of any industry. On a media call, Jacobs said researchers were surprised that such a huge percentage of workers needed this assistance just to stay afloat.
19, 2013. Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images Walmart has no regrets about allowing a wild shopping spree at two of its Louisiana stores when an electronic glitch lifted the spending caps on the cards of food stamp recipients. “We know we made the right choice,” Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg told ABCNews.com today. The chain has no regrets even though Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services said food stamp recipients should have been limited to $50 each during the emergency and that Walmart will have to pay the difference. Lundberg declined to comment about how much the company may have lost or why it did not follow the emergency $50 limit. Read More: Walmart to Get Stuck With Most of Food Stamp Shopping Spree Courtesy KSLA.com Shelves in the Walmart store in Springhill, La., were cleared Saturday, when the store allowed purchases on EBT cards that didn’t show limits. Another Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said, “Our focus was to continue serving our customers.” Food stamp recipients jammed into Walmarts in Mansfield and Springhill Saturday when word of the glitch spread. Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd said some customers were buying eight to ten grocery carts full of food. The store in Mansfield temporarily closed because of overcrowding and Mansfield Chief of Police Gary Hobbs said some shoppers left with up to eight carts of food and then went back for more. The food shelves were left bare and all the meat was sold as well, Lynd said. The shopping frenzy was triggered when the Electronic Benefits Transfer system went down because a back-up generator failed at 11 a.m. EST Saturday during a regularly-scheduled test, according to Xerox, a vendor for the EBT system and based in Norwalk, Conn. The outage erased limits on the EBT cards.
‘It’s not your fault’: Some furloughed by shutdown turn to charities for food
The British Red Cross announced last week it would have 30,000 volunteers help in a massive food drive at the end of November. The Red Cross hasnt been involved in food distribution on a wide scale in Britain since World War II. IMPACT OF AUSTERITY The stress on the poor has increased since Britains coalition government, elected in 2010, imposed tough spending cuts and tax increases intended to reduce the budget deficit. That government has cut welfare payments, forced many low-income residents to pay local government tax for the first time, and imposed a new fee for public housing tenants with spare bedrooms. Treasury chief George Osborne has acknowledged that the austerity has proven to be hard on the country and that recovery is taking longer than anyone hoped. But the government insists the pain is a short-term necessity for the countrys long-term economic well-being. Among those struggling is Tim Day, 30, who lives off odd jobs and visited one of the trusts distribution centers at the United Reformed Church in Bromley on Tuesday. Between temporary work contracts, Day was grateful for a three-day supply of food including orange juice, vegetables, and porridge. But hes always worried about making ends meet. Its stressful, he said, describing the constant ups and downs that come without the certainty of a full-time job. UPWARD TREND The numbers show a steady increase in the numbers of people needing help to eat. When the trusts network started in 2000, it served 600 people at one site.
Walmart Says Food Stamp Shopping Spree Was ‘Right Choice’
Roughly 200 people received bags of frozen meat, canned vegetables and other staples on Monday morning. The shutdown hits brewers and reality TV Obama: Shutdown ‘completely unnecessary’ Senate gets closer to a deal “These folks (furloughed government employees) don’t know how to be poor,” said Rev. Robert Hahn, the head End Hunger in Calvert County, a consortium of food pantries in the area. “These folks are fish out of water and they feel humiliated, like they have lost their dignity.” This is the second offering Hahn’s group has made to federal employees. 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.