Eating Well in the Recession

Woodlawn resident Cameron Miles, 30, is a self-proclaimed foodie.  She moved to New York in 2004 to be a dancer and works in restaurants between gigs.

The economic downturn has meant fewer shows and shorter hours at her job as an office assistant at Del Frisco’s Steakhouse, as many Americans have cut back on the luxury of dining out.  According toa recent survey in the economist, US consumer spending on food decreased by almost 10 percent in 2010.

Miles is bucking this budgetary approach, saying she is determined to eat well despite a decreased cash flow.  But she is budget-conscious in her own way. She is big on cooking at home, and has several tricks up her sleeve for making the most of her daily meals.

The strategy she is most adamant about?  Making a list and planning in advance. Continue reading

Jamaica soup kitchen battles recession with laughter

  • Every Wednesday afternoon five to 10 volunteers gather in the kitchen at First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens to cook dinner for over 100 people.

  • For the 5:30 meal, volunteers begin arriving after lunch and cook for the rest of the day.

  • Despite a shrinking budget, laughter and music echo throughout the hallways when the volunteers begin cooking each week.

  • For the main course, fresh chicken - a rarity for the soup kitchen, which survives on canned donations - was rubbed with spices and baked.

  • Soup kitchen team leader Jeanne Bryant took a break from chopping lettuce to laugh at a fellow volunteer\'s joke.

  • Christola Williams, the most recent addition to the volunteer group, uncovered food about thirty minutes before diners arrived to begin filling more than 100 plates.

  • Each volunteer plays a unique role during the meal - one woman added bread and butter to each plate while another filled the trays with silverware.

  • To keep the line moving, six meals are lined up on a plastic table and diners enter the serving area in small groups, each picking up a drink and a food tray.

  • After a quick prayer, diners line up in the church\'s auditorium. Although dinner begins promptly at 5:30, they usually arrive half an hour early. Kathy McLaughlin is ready to serve drinks as soon as the prayer is finished.

For twenty years, the First Presbyterian Church has been serving dinner at its soup kitchen in Jamaica, Queens. Every Wednesday night, locals line up for baked chicken or macaroni, and recently, their numbers have been steadily increasing. Continue reading

A Bad “Good” Job Isn’t Worth the Money

This past May, for the first time since completing my undergraduate education, I found myself making a living wage.  But a week into my fancy Upper East Side job, I knew it wasn’t going to work out.  The simplest explanation I could offer friends and family was that it wasn’t worth my life.

It had taken me a bit longer to realize what Kaitlyn Kochany learned right out of the gates.

Like many Americans, I spent the last three years toughing out low wages, abusive supervisors, and high stress positions in the spirit of retaining a job during the recession.

What I learned at my fancy job was that more money wouldn’t compensate for the unprofessional environments I had endured at previous firms. Good wages wouldn’t suddenly make the same kind of position a good job. Even if walking away from gainful employment meant exhausting my savings and borrowing a pile of student loans, it was time to bet on myself. Continue reading

Can startups save America’s flailing job market?

As monthly job reports continue to present a painfully stagnant job market, more Americans are pushing for innovative entrepreneurship as a solution to job creation. President Obama addressed this trend in a speech on Thursday, Sept. 8 when he announced details of the Americans Jobs Act. Reactions to his plan and to the idea of entrepreneurship pulling America out of an economic recession are presented below using Storify.

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