The Ripcurrent: Struggling Food Pantries, Flooding in Bangladesh, Washington Football Team, Vote by Mail

Food Pantries Face Dwindling Supplies

Photo credit: Unsplash

Many food pantries/soup kitchens are nonprofits and are able to distribute food thanks to donations and volunteers. However, due to COVID-19, these food pantries are under a lot of stress and are struggling to maintain financial stability. Many pantries have been forced to shut their doors, meaning that lines are getting longer at other available food pantries. These nonprofits have experienced an increase in demand for food due to rising unemployment, met with a decrease in volunteer staff. Food pantries like Island Heart in Middle Island, and Welcome Friends in Port Jefferson have been trying to maintain a “business as usual” attitude by continuing to distribute food during the pandemic. Under normal circumstances, these food pantries usually allow their consumers inside their buildings to select which specific foods they would like. Now, however, patrons must wait inside their cars to keep socially distant and their choice of food is limited due to the lack of donations and increase in demand.

July 31 marks the last day for nonprofit organizations to receive benefits from the CARES Act, which has provided relief for American businesses during the pandemic. After July 31, nonprofits are unsure about how, or even if, the government will provide further relief and assistance. Although many food pantries classify as nonprofits, they still rely on monetary donations and government assistance for finances such as rent, utilities, payroll, etc. At this rate, more and more food pantries can expect to close their doors if they continue to operate with these longer lines and downsized staff. Without these food pantries and soup kitchens, food will become especially scarce for those in need during these difficult times.

To donate to/volunteer at Welcome Friends, visit their page:
-Liam Cooper

Bangladesh is Devastated by Flooding

Nestled between India and Myanmar, Bangladesh is known for its intense monsoon seasons and meltwater flooding from the Himalayan Mountains. When these two forces combine, huge swaths of the country can be devastated. Recent floods have damaged people’s homes, washed away their livestock, and wiped out stored food. Millions of people are displaced. These floods could last up until mid-August, having already consumed about a fourth of the nation. Scientists predict that in the years to come, the floods will only worsen.

Because of Bangladesh’s unique location, the country is severely impacted by climate change. Warmer summers, heavy rainfall in short periods of time, crop failure, and drought are just some of the effects the country is experiencing. Recent events have shown an alarming trend in which impoverished areas that produce the least amounts of carbon per capita are hit hardest by climate change, exacerbating the already desperate conditions, while first-world countries are mainly at fault for our worsening climate but experience fewer consequences. Carbon emissions must be significantly reduced to save our climate from more destruction, and to prevent a humanitarian disaster. Bangladesh is just one more example of a suffering country due to the climate crisis, and many will follow.
Source, Source -Abbie Blake

Washington Football Starts Fresh

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Sports fans, especially those rooting for Washington D.C., anxiously awaited the Washington Redskins' new name after it was under fire for its racist origins as a “derogatory slur" of a team name. Fans did not have to wait any longer, as on July 23rd, a new name was announced: Washington Football would now be known as...The Washington Football Team.

In a press release, the team stated, "The decision to use 'Washington Football Team' for this season allows the franchise the ability to undertake an in-depth branding process to properly include player, alumni, fan, community, and sponsor input...To date, we have been pleased to see so many people putting forward their vision of what the new name and design should be on their social media channels and we look forward to including their feedback as this process progresses." Washington's new logo is a yellow letter "W" in the foreground of a maroon backdrop.

The entire organization will also be going through a rebranding process, removing all logos and previous branding from areas of play, which will include Redskins Park and FedEx Field. The new name comes as a shock to many around the nation, this time not for its derogatory meaning, but for its confusing simplicity. We will have to wait and see if this is a temporary, or permanent decision.

Source -Amy Whitman

President Trump Tries A New Tactic

With many supporters disappointed by his management of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the worsening economy, President Trump's poll numbers and popularity have been steadily declining. Previously, Trump had banked on the skyrocketing stock market to win him reelection, but the pandemic has squashed any hopes of recovery by November 3rd. In response, the president has attacked vote-by-mail in order to discredit a potential Democratic victory and on Thursday, President Trump took to Twitter to promote a new idea: delaying the election.

Technically, the president has no power to change the election date. The Constitution specifically hands that duty to Congress, which has set it on November 3rd. The presidents' suggestion was promptly squashed by both Republicans and Democrats, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stating on television that, "never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time,” and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tweeting an excerpt from the Constitution.

Political experts find Trump's attack on vote-by-mail puzzling, as five states (Oregon, Hawaii, Colorado, Utah, and Washington) already conduct their elections exclusively by mail, and absentee voting, which Trump tweeted "is good," is conducted by mail as well. In 2018, 1 out of every 4 voters voted by mail – in fact many red states which voted for Trump in 2016 have huge vote-by-mail programs. Others find his concern for voter's health to be conflicting with his handling of the pandemic. He has pushed to reopen schools and the rest of the nation early, putting the economy over the risk of a worsening medical crisis.

Regardless, All-Mail elections in which every registered voter receives a ballot in the mail would be safe, easy, and very low risk. Fraud is hard to commit with the plethora of safeguards in place, including unique ballot style and weight. The House of Representatives has drafted a bill to implement Universal Vote By Mail for the 2020 election, but President Trump has refused to sign any legislature increasing funding for the United States Postal Service which is in danger of running out of funding. The President and his supporter base continue to insist that vote-by-mail will "rig" the election while the rest of the nation worries whether Trump will accept the election results, come November.    

Source -Viviane Kim

Viviane E. Kim

Viviane, a sophomore, is Editor-in-Chief of The Current. She's an aspiring pianist, flutist, artist, and activist. She has won several writing competitions and performed with the SBU Orchestra.

Amy Whitman

Amy is The Current’s Multimedia lead. A junior, she contributes to our podcast and News column. She loves writing, reading, sports, and film, and plans to major in journalism and political science.

Abbie Blake

Abbie, a junior, writes for The Ripcurrent and News columns. An aspiring journalist, she loves coming up with different ideas and then writing about them. She also enjoys painting and stage crew.

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