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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Child Poverty in the US

The following new article does not surprise me one bit:

The article shows that the US is listed as the second highest child poverty rate in developed countries worldwide. I know this exists as for almost a year me, my three kids, and their biological dad lived in a nasty trailer park outside of Chicago.

Now in this trailer park you had to walk past pimps, drug dealers, and gangs to just get into it. Then the trailer we lived in had no running water, no working toilets of any kind, and very little electricity. I had to feed my whole family on $20 a week, this was with me scrounging at food pantries when I could get to them via walking. I had to use a cut milk jug to empty out toilet we did uses twice a day... and trust me in the summer it was not fun. Then I had to find a place to dump it.

We spent that time living off of rice, ground beef, and grilled cheese sandwiches... along with peanut butter. We only had all of that thanks to WIC, because then my kids were young enough to still get it. So we did have milk and cereal as well, have you ever tried to make 2 large boxes of cereal last a month with 5 people...? I can.

The problem isn't that poor people want to be poor, most of them truly want to work; and cannot find work. Even in big cities jobs are scarce, and people with obligations generally wind up less likely to get work. For a brief time I had to work and leave my kids home alone, hoping they would be ok so I could give them a place to live and food on their plates.

The big BIG problem with these rates is that in the US the general “public” doesn't want to hear about poor children in the US. They prefer “those people” be in other countries. It's not “our problem” to these people. I'm sorry but it is everyone's problem, not just a problem “over there”; where ever that “there” might be.

There is a MAJOR homeless, and hunger problem in the US and we as a country need to do something about it. While I think the idea of the “backpack program” that is in a good portion of the schools is a good idea. I do have major issues with it. Most of the time when I had allowed my kids to be part of it when we first moved here, the “food” included was just junk. In my area the food is provided by donation, only; I don't know if the same happens everywhere though.

I have seen the same with food pantries in my life. Donations half the time are outdated, or what you get makes little sense. Yes, people with no food are very happy to get it. Here is a good question though for in the cases of people with food allergies, how comfortable would you be to ask they not include something you are allergic to?

What if you receive something that requires milk to make and you have none and received none? I would like to ask all my readers out there if they chose to donate to food pantries please put some thought into what you get. If you are donating mac and cheese, include some evaporated or dried milk. I've made powdered mac and cheese minus butter but you NEED milk. Lots of times I would get mac and cheese (powder type) and no milk. I'd ask the food pantries all the time if they have any milk... “you have kids”.. granted they are standing next to me, but I say yes. “Sorry but we don't have any”. Ok, fine.. then why ask if I have kids?

However I could spend hours going on about what happened in my life back then. What I experienced up till now even when I needed help and it was poor assistance. Or for some odd reason I did not qualify, even with kids. My main point here is, there is a problem with children in poverty; a BIG one. ...and it needs to NOT be “brushed under the table”, it needs to be fixed; or at least worked on. Hell, it needs to be recognized by the general public.

What do you think?

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