It’s here! Today’s the day! I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many blogs about Thanksgiving as I have this year. We’re sharing memorable recipes and lovely table settings; we’re telling stories about childhood Thanksgivings, about hilarious holiday mishaps, about family squabbles and even about the
victims turkeys themselves.
Happy talk, for sure, and aren’t we blessed? But here’s where I go all gloomy on you. There are millions of people in our country who won’t be having turkey and all the trimmings today. Some will find a soup kitchen open, and they’ll be the lucky ones, but for many others this will be just another day. If they find something to eat they eat; if they don’t they don’t.
On these days of celebration we fervently want to believe that nobody will go hungry today, but all the wishes in the world won’t make their hunger go away. 16 million children live in poverty in the United States. We can do something about it.
We can start by accepting the shameful fact that the U.S poverty rate is the highest in the developed world. We can kill, once and for all, the myth that millions of poor Americans are lazy, worthless, or otherwise undeserving of our help.
- One in four children in the US live in poverty with 194 million children receiving free or reduced price lunch.
- One out of every four children is at risk of going hungry.
- Less than half to the children receiving free or reduced lunches have had breakfast before heading off to school.
- Half of all American children will at some point in their childhood receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits before they turn 20.
- One in eight people are enrolled for SNAP benefits.
- Half of American children born receive WIC benefits.
- Half of all American children will receive food stamp benefits sometime before they turn 20.
- US has highest child poverty rate of any industrialized nation.
- Children are the largest population of poor in the nation.
- More than half of families with children are asset poor.
- 19% of children live below the FPL (14 million children).
- 41% of children live in families below 200% of FPL = 29 million children (2008).
- 8% of children live in extreme poverty (6.2 million).
- Between 2000 and 2008 children living in poverty increased by 21% = 2.5 million more children.
Starting tomorrow, we can do something about it. The poor can’t wait. We have to hurry this up.
This is a great place to start:
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May our hearts and stomachs both be full.