Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May Days

The end of the school year for most of us conjurers up memories of endless days of sunshine and freedom.  Out on our metal steeds (bikes) pedaling as fast as our feet and legs could churn those foot pegs.

Out in the dark in our backyards playing zombie tag with flashlights.

Sitting under the dappled shade of a tree reading either a much beloved book or the latest volume of our favorite comic book series.

But for to many children the end of school marks the beginning of hunger.
For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation.
The Southern Education Foundation reports that 51 percent of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in the 2012-2013 school year were eligible for the federal program that provides free and reduced-price lunches. The lunch program is a rough proxy for poverty, but the explosion in the number of needy children in the nation’s public classrooms is a recent phenomenon that has been gaining attention among educators, public officials and researchers. (1)

Let that number of children living in poverty, 51% soak in a moment.   Over half of our children are living in poverty.  In Mississippi the percent rises to a mind boggling 70%!

And Congress sits on their fat asses and tries to undo public safety nets and access to free medical care, and a stern refusal to raise minimum wage.

The lack of education in the southern states matches perfectly with the higher  poverty rate in those states.

And schools are having to feed more and more children for free.
 This sentence shocked me to pieces.
In a classroom at Smothers Elementary School in Washington, D.C., third graders grab egg sandwiches, cups of juice and milk and take them back to their desks to eat. In this high-poverty school skipping breakfast wasn’t about stigma. All kids qualify for free meals. (2)

I'll just say what most of us are thinking, our country is broken and we need to find a way to get it back on its feet and running again, but how?  I have no idea at all.

May 9th is Letter Carriers "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive.

 On the morning of Saturday, May 9, just set out your non-perishable food items well before your letter carrier’s normal pick-up time. Note that he or she will be delivering and collecting mail as usual, on top of collecting food donations, so that pickup time could be slightly later than usual.
Pantry shelves filled up through winter-holiday generosity often are bare by late spring. And, with most school meal programs not available during summer months, millions of children must find alternate sources of nutrition.
People are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods such as canned soup; canned vegetables; canned meats and fish; pasta; peanut butter; rice or cereal next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery on Saturday. (3)
No child should ever have to go to bed hungry.  Or have to worry about if there will be food available tomorrow.

(1) Washington Post
(2) Marketplace
(3) USPS


  1. I just received my reminder postcard in today's mail. I ALWAYS participate. I was once hungry, so I know how it feels to be food insecure.

  2. I work in an "affluent" school district, and 38% of our students require school supplied nutrition. We do breakfast and lunch at many schools for all students. This continues through the summer months, using federal grants at fewer sites (but serving about the same number of students). That's nearly 23,000 students a day!

    This sickens me. We so need a Democratic Congress, Senate, and President long enough to get our safety nets into place, raise the minimum wage, and try to get so many people out of poverty.

    I will do something for Saturday. It might be a tight month for me, but you know what? I don't go hungry, I can help those who do.

    Powerful post, Biki.

    Peace <3

  3. I'm not shocked this is happening in Southern states. Wasn't former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour going to abolish the minimum wage? Or some other dimwit in that region? I know their average wages are the lowest in the country, but.... "States rights!" as they like to say.

    I never get a postcard for this, but I may have to visit the post office on Saturday to see if mine accepts items.

  4. What does Congress care about hungry children? They aren't rich and they can't vote.