The Philadelphia Inquirer profiles the lives of families going hungry in Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District, home of a few of my old neighborhoods, Kensington, Fishtown, Frankford in Philadelphia: “A Portrait of Hunger”.
There is no excuse for letting anyone go hungry in the richest country in the world. None. The article points to three main culprits: a lack of paying work, a lack of guidance to services that can help, and the bureaucratic complexity of applying for those services as root causes.
It was the same for us when I was growing up and when I was out on the streets, sleeping on trains, I didn’t know who to go to for help, or how.
The comments posted on the article really go far in showing how low our culture has become in kicking people when they are down and blaming them entirely for their circumstances.
We’re all in this together. For some great commentary on this, check out Susie Madrak’s latest post. Like her I can still remember when my family needed help. I can remember being in line for a block of cheese at Bridge and Pratt. I remember all too well the chuckles of some at school due to the quality of my Salvation Army and Goodwill bought clothes. I remember the Salvation Army Santa Claus visiting the family to drop off some toys to make our Christmas brighter.
None of us are 100% self made and choosing to belabor that some people need help, instead of offering TO help, does no one any good. Please, if you are able, find some way, any way, to lend a hand.
Cradles to Crayons
Boston.com: The sting of poverty: The more of a painful or undesirable thing one has (i.e. the poorer one is) the less likely one is to do anything about any one problem. Poverty is less a matter of having few goods than having lots of problems.
NYTimes: Paul Krugman: Poverty is Poison:To be poor in America today, even more than in the past, is to be an outcast in your own country. And that, the neuroscientists tell us, is what poisons a child’s brain.
Philly.com: The new mandate: First, find them a home: Deborah Harmon, 43 and mentally ill, was released from jail for panhandling, and again faced living on the streets or in a shelter. Runell McKnight, 25, had no place to go with her two young children after she broke up with the man she was living with. Today, both women have apartments of their own, with each a beneficiary of programs that aggressively promote the notion that, above all, the homeless need homes.
The Gospel of Consumption: “Nothing,” he claimed, “breeds radicalism more than unhappiness unless it is leisure.”
Elizabeth Warren interview at UC Berkley: It is partly about politics. If you don’t email your congresswoman or your congressman and your senator, then you are part of the problem today. You’ve got to tell them that this is an issue that matters to you, that this really, truly matters.