Students in poverty need our community's outreach

September 28, 2013 

This is in response to Brenda MacWilliams' letter to the editor on Sept. 20, "Why aren't parents feeding kids?" Mrs. MacWilliams, you are certainly a fortunate and blessed lady if you never had to go hungry or wonder how you were going to get your next meal. There are countless children in this community who go hungry every day. Thank goodness we have a school system that recognizes the impact an "empty tummy" has on the learning curve of our youth and is able to provide additional meals to these unfortunate children.

You ask, "where are the parents in all of this?" Have you considered that some of these parents have lost jobs (due to no fault of their own) and can no longer afford healthy meals for their families? Or, parents may have had medical issues and the money that was once there to pay for housing and food is no longer available to them. Or, a spouse has died. Or, any other family tragedy that has displaced the family unit. Or, what about a disabled child who requires around-the-clock care, causing one parent to be the constant care-giver instead of the bread-winner?

As a social worker, I have heard and seen the horror stories. Most people in poverty did not choose this way of life, nor did they intend to have children they could not afford to feed. It is through no fault of their own that they find themselves in a dire situation.

You indicate that it is "unfair" for you to have to support the "basic needs" of others. What is "unfair" is that there are children in this community who have to rely on the generosity of others for their "basic needs." What is "unfair" is to assess blame and cry, "why should I have to pay?" Thank goodness there are enough kind, supportive and understanding individuals in this community who want to give freely without asking "why."

DiDi Hager

Bradenton

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