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Unemployed or underemployed: College educated families are becoming the new poor

Come Christmas dinner, Rolanda McCarty, a 36-year-old single mother, usually goes all out.

Her table last year featured a rosemary-and-oil rubbed turkey and a sweet ham. She prepared fresh collard greens according to her grandmother’s recipe. The dessert — a rich butter pound cake — was made from scratch.

But after being laid off from her technical recruiting job in January because of the struggling economy, there will be no fancy holiday feast, no family members pouring into her downsized one-bedroom apartment. She will rely on what she has: canned vegetables and microwavable meals from her community food bank.