WHO MAKES UP THE POOREST AGE GROUP IN AMERICA?
Children make up the poorest age group in America. In 2012, one out of every five kids (birth to 18 years old) lived in poverty.
Poverty is defined "officially" as not having enough money to meet basic needs--food, clothing, housing. I say basic because every child deserves a roof over their head, food in their bellies, and clothes on their back. To me it is a basic right of humanity. However, for more than 16.1 million kids, one or more of these basic necessities is not available.
There are many reasons for poverty--lack of jobs, low pay, and not enough education are just three of them. Families that find themselves below the poverty level often discover it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to change their situation and make things better for their kids.
As a kid growing up in a single parent household in the 50's and 60's, I knew poverty. My siblings and I lived it everyday. We knew hunger--not the rumbling tummy between breakfast and lunch hunger--but the twisting in the stomach and no energy hunger that comes from not knowing if your next meal will come tomorrow or the next day hunger. I remember what it was like to stand in the USDA food line for several hours as a seven year old just to get a can of peanut butter, powdered eggs, or canned meat. So why am I blogging about this now?
I have two reasons. First and foremost, unless people actually step up to the plate and help one another, the problem is going to continue to grow. Now I'm not big on parents sitting at home collecting money from the government because they feel the jobs out there are beneath them, or they can''t make it any better on their own. For them, I say "Get off your butt, and change your life. Your kids deserve it." My mother sanded cars in a body shop in the 50's to take care of us. Secondly, as a writer, I want to know why there aren't many books portraying kids in poverty. it seems to me that while kids need books to take them away from reality, they also need characters who are real. So as a writer, I am writing a picture book for kids 4-8 called "Mom. I am Hungry". If I find a publisher, I'll donate the proceeds. Next week I'll share the premise of the book, and ask for your opinions. Until then, why not donate 3 cans of food to the food bank this week?