With a 41 percent jobless rate, [Mendota's] social fabric is tearing at the seams. Alcoholism and crime are on the rise. To save money, some mothers wash and re-use disposable diapers. Unemployed men with nothing to do wander the streets and sit on benches.Some details:
The irony is obvious: In a large swath of the nation's most productive farming region, many struggle to fill their own cupboards.
[Alicia] Reyes, who runs the dilapidated thrift store with her daughter, spent a recent morning watching customers trickle in and out. A sign hanging above an American flag behind her read: "Lord, help me hang in there." So far that day, she had sold only a pair of glass jars — for $5.Mendota, California
Normally, Reyes can keep her business afloat by bargain-shopping for clothes and other items at yard sales in Fresno and re-selling them in Mendota. But with times as tough as they are now, even her thrift store may have to close.
"It's been terrible, terrible, terrible," said Reyes, 60, shaking her head. "The people have no money, no jobs."