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“The food line started before light outside the stone church with red doors in the South Bronx on a recent Friday,” The New York Times reported earlier this month. “There were grim-faced old men next to weary mothers with children.”

“As food pantries struggle to meet increasing demand, the Bronx Spanish Evangelical Church is feeding more people than ever,” The Times reported. Its food pantry gave out the equivalent of more than 29,000 meals in November, up from 10,000 in March.

Then there was this November report from The New York Times: “This is the time for food lines because the end of the month is near, which for many families means their food-stamp allotment has run out and dollars are tight.”

Scattered “throughout the city, like latter-day versions of Depression photos, grandmothers and children, men and women wait hours for a bag of groceries at a food pantry. Many of the hungriest are children and the elderly. And many have jobs whose hours and salaries have been cut.”

Most Americans, as we go about our daily lives, do not see these food lines because they’re working. People who need food are lining up every day in cities and towns across the country, a grim, Dickensian testament to the growing poverty that is all around us.

There is a very effective way to combat it: an economy running at full-throttle and robust job creation in all regions of the country. That still remains a very distant dream this Christmas season of charity and good will. And it’s getting worse.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.