Unless you watched the 60 Minutes segment on the suffering of children in America, you may not know what is actually happening on the home-front and across America.
I was a Florida teacher in Seminole, Volusia, and Lake Counties. I watched as children on free and reduced lunches came to the school breakfasts that were provided and many dumped much of their food in the trash can. It was hard to understand whether parents were actually sending their children to school hungry because there was no food in the house…or just feeding at the trough of the tax payers? This was years ago. Now things are different. It is not just low-income families needing help, but those who would have mostly considered themselves of the middle class They had jobs and were tax payers.Now they have lost their jobs and their children are in the middle of the crisis.
As a single mother, early in my life and taking care of three children, I understand the short-term need for food stamps and the kindness of a family that took us in while I worked. A parent does what he/she has to do to make ends meet. I remember going to garage sales as early as October to find good, like-new items for my children’s Christmas.
I am shocked to find out that today there are thousands in my home-state of Florida; not to mention the whole nation who are displaced out of their homes because of unemployment situations. The school buses stop in front of shabby motels where the children line up to go to school. Some are dropping out to help the family with odd jobs. The cycle of education and poverty go hand in hand….or so we have thought. It may be just as likely that a person with a Master’s degree is also going to the community food banks.
It is estimated that 25% of American children are now living below the poverty level. That’s 1.5 million homeless children in the United States. The majority – about 75 percent – are elementary-school-aged. Forty-two percent are younger than six.
It is good to know that not only Seminole County, Florida is dealing with the problem in their schools, but other counties have a student services that one can reach by simply picking up the phone. Those of us who are blessed with jobs or good retirements have an opportunity to make a difference. One father said he never dreamed he would be in this position of homelessness when it came to providing for his family. His job just simply went away.
The video you are about to see is heart-wrenching and real. The lights are being turned off. Families are sleeping in cars. Desperate parents are taking to the road to hold up signs for work to feed the family. The tears of children are real. As we look at the world needs (and there are many), what happened to charity at home?
The statistics of the unemployed have reached a crisis level that middle class America never dreamed of. Our parents lived through the Great Depression…not us. We remember the pictures, however, of the bread lines. Now the food pantries in churches or community centers have a hard time keeping the shelves stocked.
My last writing was about the death of my mother. Now, I am having an estate sale of some of her possessions. It is something that has to be done. While doing this, I found that my own closets and cupboards had many things that I had not looked at or used for years. Why are we hoarding these things?
As my husband and I watched this segment on the homeless and displaced children, we decided that the estate sale needs to be in Mother’s honor, and the proceeds need to go to help some families until they can get on their feet. My mother would have agreed with that. She was a most generous person. (Estate sale Thurs, Jun 30-Sat. July 2 E. Cypress St., Howey in the Hills, FL.)
Watch the videos below. You will not stop thinking about this. I promise.
2nd video Interview about the Unemployed