Monday, December 10, 2012

Poor Kids

I don't like to get on my soapbox on this blog, but I will when something really bugs the heck out of me.

Frontline did an incredible segment on how poverty effects children called Poor Kids.

I teared up quite a few times.

Imagine not being able to pay your bills and having to move your family in to a motel?
There is something in this one school, probably all schools, called the "Nutrition Club" where they send the kids home with some food for the weekend. Quite frankly, yes it is nice, but the food is shit. Everything is sized like when you stay in hospital. Small Cheerios, beef stew in the can, applesauce, nothing truly nutritional and nothing to help teach people to eat better or cook. Not that you should give it to the kids, but when people go to Food Banks, out of the kindness of strangers and grocery stores, people get canned corn, carrots, cereals, Spam (I could vomit) and other things to hep them get through their life that has taken an awful turn. But from a nutritional value stand point, we all know it sucks. I wish some of these parents understood nutrition better and cooked from scratch instead of buying 5 frozen pizzas for $10. But I have no idea if WIC or Food Stamps or Welfare have the funding or time or inclination to offer food classes. I mean, their budgets are probably stretched to the limits as it.

Food Banks are struggling to help people. Running out of food as needs grow. This is very scary and I have a feeling this will last longer than most expect.

One little girl says she missed eating Chinese food. I have never wanted to buy a gift card to a restaurant so bad. I would make it good for a year so she can have it whenever she wants.

The kids in this show are amazingly in tune with what is going on and what has happened and how much they hare being poor. Sure some of the parents work, but at transient jobs or jobs that pay so little they cannot afford food if they pay bills. One set of kids are kept our of school because they keep moving so much. The kids understand education will help them from being in their situation and they fear not being able to go to school and get out of their situation.

America is an industrialized nation. A wealthy nation, with debt, but to fail children like this is disgraceful. These families are not the stereotypes of "welfare" families we are constantly fed. They are children born to parents who have fallen through the cracks of society. Lack of understanding of finance, self sufficiency, nutrition, education, is mind boggling. But at the same time, none of these parents want this life for their children, but don't know how to get out short of working at the Wal Mart. There seems to be an ignorance to using libraries for internet and books or learning how to shop wisely when in the supermarket or even doing without TV. But it is simple for me to say that as I sit in my comfortable little home streaming PBS and typing on my computer isn't it? I have learned how to do be self sufficient out of necessity, but in a world that is all about convenience and coveting thy neighbor's goods, we have done a disservice to many. Sure it is our own choices that give us the life we have to an extent and we are responsible for what we choose in the sense of, Do I need the Nike sneakers or can I live with the no name pair? Kids only know what is around them and what their parents teach them. I know there will always be poor people in this world, but it is still awful to see.

One shelter in San Francisco has a 6 month wait.

6 months. Good God, what is happening here???

And yes, I get the poor people in US have a lot more than poor people in other nations, but that point is irrelevant to me. Poor is poor, but to be poor in a wealthy nation? I can't even imagine what those people feel like. Well, I couldn't imagine, after watching Frontline, now I know.

Here is a preview of Poor Kids:



  1. I came your way via Rhonda @ down-to-earth. You are a weekend read suggestion. I enjoyed your food posts, but was struck by this one. You expressed the horror and disbelief I have felt over America's poverty for year. I recently retired from school counseling position in a small rural poor town in the poorest county in Indiana. Our schools are full of hungry kids, hungry for food, education and love. After last week's tragedy in CT, maybe we all can do more for all kids. I encourage you to buy those gift cards, pay for someone else's groceries, drop off a bag of good food on a doorstep. We all will benefit. Your child, too, from seeing humanity in action.

  2. Thank you Hedy. It is horrible and seems kids just get pushed to the side as if they are a second thought when it comes to poverty at all levels and you expressed it perfectly. We donate goods all the time and while my son is only one, he will learn it is good to do for others.