Children Of America Need Your Help Will you Answer Their Call?
For nearly 6 million children, the lunch they receive at school will be the only meal they eat today. Some of these children have younger siblings waiting to see if big brother brings them home a nibble to eat. Families across this country cannot afford even the most basic of needs like food, shelter and utilities, especially in the summer when schools are not able to provide free or reduced price lunches for children.
36.2 million people live in households considered to be food insecure. Of these people, 12.4 million are children which is a staggering 16.9 percent of all children in America. While starvation seldom occurs in this country, children and adults do go hungry and chronic mild malnutrition does occur when financial resources are low. The mental and physical changes that accompany inadequate food intakes can have harmful effects on learning, development, productivity, physical and psychological health, and family life.
Although various federal safety net programs aimed at alleviating hunger and poor nutrition are effective, they don’t reach enough poor families and children. These programs – including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (better known as the WIC program), National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and the Summer Food Service Program – play a critical role in promoting child well-being and preventing homelessness. An estimated 2.2 million Americans are raised above the poverty line each year because they receive SNAP benefits. In fact, SNAP has been called “the single most effective program in lifting children out of extreme poverty.”
UNICEF has indicated that although the U.S. is still the wealthiest country in the world, with incomes higher than in any other country, it has also one of the highest of child poverty rates among the industrialized nations. Denmark and Finland, by comparison, report child-poverty levels of less than 3%, followed by Norway and Sweden. All those countries have high levels of social spending. Without the help of local food banks, so many of our nation’s children would go hungry more than a few times a week. Even with help, some of these children are still forced to skip meals on a regular basis.
Every day, millions of parents struggle with a heartbreaking decision. Do they pay their rent, or do they buy food? Decisions like this usually leave families homeless, and still hungry. Homeless shelters are having to turn people away, sending them to another shelter who will also turn them away. There is just not enough room to help every family who needs it. Many food banks also find themselves in the position of having to close their doors early. In this economy, there are just not enough people donating food to the local food banks to feed all those who will inevitably go without.
Every night more than 1 million children in America face the dark with no place to call home. They are hungry, anxious and often exposed to violence. They shuttle between shelters and fall behind in school. Although this can all be avoided with a little more help from their community, many people don’t even know this is such a severe problem.
Tonight, more then 12 million children may have to face going to bed without enough to eat. We can end this suffering. We can make the choice between food and rent a thing of the past. All it takes is the will to do so. Everyone deserves a filling meal. Won’t you help America’s children?
For Information On How You Can Help, Please Visit These Sites. www.homelesschildrenamerica.org www.salvationarmyusa.org www.feedthechildren.org www.catholiccharitiesusa.org www.feedingamerica.org www.secondharvest.org