Child Hunger in the US
More than 20% of children in the US live in poverty. More than one in four children go to bed hungry. At one of the most important times of their lives, when they are growing, our children are suffering because of a lack of basic nutrition. Economically, as well as morally, this is a disaster. And it needs to end. NOW.
It’s time to stop blaming the children. It’s time to stop turning a blind eye to what’s going on in our own country. Like many of you, my heart goes out to ALL children who suffer, but I honestly think we should be doing more at home than we are at present. Here’s why. Hungry children have:
- lower reading scores
- lower math scores
- greater physical and mental health problems
- higher incidence of emotional and behavioral problems
- greater chance of obesity (due to bad diet)
“So, what?” you ask. If you can’t get behind the moral imperative to help these children, how about the economic imperative? It costs us trillions of dollars to provide medical care associated with hunger. We lose trillions of dollars in productivity each year. So, we’re paying a huge amount to provide care instead of food. The result is that these children will not do as well as an adult, meaning there is a far greater chance they will need assistance. It also means they won’t earn as much, and therefore will not contribute as much to the tax base.
If you can’t get behind the idea of feeding the poor on a humanitarian level, perhaps the economic factors will help you realize that child hunger and poverty do, in fact affect you, because you and I are bearing the cost of our failure.
To me, children – all children – fall into the category of “the least of us.” And you probably already know how I feel about helping them. Please join me. Volunteer and/or donate to your local food banks. Help set up free meals for those in need. Create your won Foodstock-style events to raise awareness and money. Make a casserole and offer it to a family in need. But a kid a banana!
I remember a day last summer, when I was performing in a Sacramento park. A woman and her two children were nearby, and I could tell by the cart she was dragging that they were in some sort of distress. When I spoke with her, I learned that they left the hotel in which they had been staying because it was filled with drug addicts and criminals. She feared for her children’s safety. so much, in fact, that she felt it was better to live in a tent than in that hotel. With her permission, I gave her two beautiful young girls bananas and bottles of water. You should have seen the reaction! Mom had tears in her eyes, and the children just beamed with happiness. All of them thanked me profusely, and the kids both told me how much they loved bananas. I left that encounter feeling very fulfilled on a spiritual level. With one small act of kindness, I’d made the day better for three people. And that felt GREAT!
Please join me. Let’s work together to feed our children. Let’s work together to end child poverty and child hunger. Let’s work together to make our society better. And let’s serve “the least among us.”
Thank you, and God bless!
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