Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

    Caught in the ACT

    <ngoing recession has affected, or will soon affect, many different aspects of our lives. The College’s shortage has already delayed the renovation of the middle school and made many students anxious about the endowment. Though these circumstances are important, it is often hard to see the recession’s effects on the vulnerable outside of the Carleton bubble.

    The recession has had a predictable effect on public welfare programs. Nationwide, food pantries have been flooded with a 30 percent increase in clients over 2008. Much of the increase comes from first-time customers, people who never imagined entering a food pantry, much less depending on it for steady food supplies. Many other new clients used to be donors and volunteers. This phenomenon has extended to traditionally wealthy areas, including Lake Forest, Illinois and Greenwich, Connecticut.

    This trend has hit Northfield harder than many other places. The Community Action Center’s Thursday’s Table program is feeding three times as many people as its planners had anticipated. The Foodshelf’s burden has increased from 250 families in 2006 to around 400 in 2008. At the same time, the tanking economy has reduced donations from the community. Though Northfield does tend to donate more money than similarly sized towns around the country, the local United Way has still seen a marked drop in donations this year. The unfortunate combination of increasing demand and reduced funding may damage the community’s traditional safety net.

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