A Bronx Family’s Story As Increasing Economic Recovery Passes Them By

The Gutiérrez is like many low-income families struggling to make ends meet in our borough which is home to many working-class immigrant families.  The New York Times explores this particular family’s struggles as the economy shows growing signs of recovering yet seemingly is not trickling over to such families.

The New York Times reports:

It is the season of twinkling lights and glittering evergreens, festive parties and holiday bonuses. But not for José Gutiérrez.

He works as a busboy in Manhattan, clearing plates and wiping tables at an Italian restaurant for about $450 a week when the tips are good. It is not enough to keep groceries in the refrigerator, he said, barely enough to cover the rent.

So his heart sank when his 6-year-old daughter handed him her Christmas list. He knew he wouldn’t be joining the throngs of shoppers crowding into toy stores, filling shopping bags with their children’s dreams.

Mr. Gutiérrez has not had a raise in five years and has never received a holiday bonus. On Saturday morning, he was lining up for rice, eggs and other groceries at a food pantry in the South Bronx. The growing economy has yet to buoy his family.

Perhaps you’ve heard the good news from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which recently reported strong gains in hiring and a sharp jump in hourly wages. Or maybe you’ve read that associates at big law firms in New York are taking home hefty bonuses of $15,000 to $100,000 this year. All of it has overshadowed the continuing struggles of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers during this holiday season.

The newest federal statistics on hunger show that one in six people in this city, or about 1.4 million people, could not afford a consistent, adequate supply of food throughout the year during the three-year period from 2011 through 2013, a time of economic recovery.

Read the rest at the New York Times: A Growing Economic Recovery Bypasses Low-Wage Workers and Their Tables – NYTimes.com and don’t forget to check out the slideshow by Bronx born and raised, Edwin J. Torres.

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.