Brother, can you spare a can?

It was bad last fall, and it’s only getting worse — by record numbers.

Harvesters, the food bank clearinghouse for the Kansas City metro area’s food pantries, just closed their books on the fiscal year that ended June 30th, and the news was troubling, at least from the standpoint of need. "Harvesters, the area’s food bank, distributed a record 32.5 million pounds of food during the fiscal year that ended June 30." They’re expecting a record again this year. After that?

Harvesters President Karen Haren said many believe that an economic recovery might happen but without a creation of jobs. So, Haren said, it’s likely that the need will continue well into 2011 and maybe even into 2012.

Most presidents are happy when there is record demand for their services, but not folks like Haren, and her counterparts elsewhere. Bay City MI. Oregon. Cleveland. Idaho. Raleigh, NC. They know about the growing need at Miriam’s Kitchen, the soup kitchen where Michelle Obama helped serve meals last March. On their home page, they note that homelessness in DC is up 25% this year.

Record demand for food pantries.

It’s not a metric they probably track at OMB, and the CBO doesn’t add it to the score when they total up the cost of health care reform bills.  But this is where I see the cost of health care and health insurance hitting home: when the lines are shrinking at the grocery stores and stretching out the doors of food banks, you know there’s a problem.

If you are in a position to help fill up a neighborhood food pantry’s shelves, please pick up some extra food at the grocery store and drop it off. The demand is off the charts, and the record-setting numbers of your neighbors who are served by food pantries around the country will be very, very grateful.

Photo h/t: Manchester Library