Thoughts on “Ranks of hungry children swell, worrying doctors – The Boston Globe” [ALSO: Ending Childhood Hunger]

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Ranks of hungry children swell, worrying doctors – The Boston Globe.

“The emergency room survey found a similarly striking increase in the percentage of families with children who reported they did not have enough food each month, from 18 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2010.

BMC has also seen a 58 percent increase, from 24 in 2005 to 38 in 2010, in the number of severely underweight babies under the age of 1 who were referred by family physicians to its Grow Clinic, where doctors provide intensive nutritional, medical, and other services to boost babies’ growth. Such malnourishment is similar to what is more typically seen in developing countries, Sandel said.

While the nation’s spotlight has been trained on the other end of the spectrum, the problem of childhood obesity, Pérez-Escamilla and other researchers report evidence that early hunger may be linked to later obesity. […] Some studies have found that young children who grow up with not enough to eat can become overweight or obese adolescents and adults, though the link is not firmly established.”

A tragic story.  It is not just the unemployed that are hit by the recession, it is their children, too ….

There is a huge Presidential initiative to end childhood hunger in America, the National Anti-Hunger Organization (NAHO), which, in itself is a worthy ambition, but after reading the key suggested points for doing so (their projected goal is ending childhood hunger by 2015 [pdf]), this is no real solution.

The main points of this plan are nine, some of which I agree with:

1) Create economic growth that provides opportunity for all

Yep.

2) Increase the minimum wage.

Nope. The minimum wage is established state-to-state based on what they know they can afford; not every state is bankrupt like the federal government.  The minimum wage is a starting point, an entry level pay bracket that is not meant to sustain a certain lifestyle or an entire family for an extended period of time.  The personal initiative of moving out of this pay bracket is what should prompt an increased lifestyle of living, not an increased minimum wage.

3) Establish a tax system that helps families thrive. (i.e. Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit).

Yep.

4) Improve key supports to help families with children meet their basic needs (affordable housing, strengthen Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, low-wage child care programs, unemployment insurance, protecting families with a disabled member)

Well, look at this .  More spending….?  How is that going to sustain familial support in a long-run scenario?  This is a great right-now, temporary fix, but my hesitation in approving this stems from its precedents; it won’t be temporary, nor do I feel it is intended to be.  So, unless a ‘temporary’ clause, with a solid exit “weaning” strategy comes along, I have to say ‘Nope’.

5) Ensure access to affordable, quality healthcare

Yep. Stipulation: It should not be provided by the federal government. More federal spending =/= Sustainable economy

6) Increase access to and participation in the federal nutrition program

Nope. I really think I’m sounding like a broken record here, but there is just no way increasing federal spending and familial dependence on the funds released is going to produce any lasting results.  The permanent answer to childhood hunger is not increasing food assistance programs.  It is the first point; economic growth that provides opportunity for all.

7) Expand federal nutrition program eligibility to reach all food-insecure children

Nope. …….. How is expanding a federal assistance program going to stimulate the economy so parents can provide for their children?  How is expanding the horizons of federal spending going to help ANYONE? The temporary result may be that a child does not go hungry, but the lasting result is a failed economy and as a result a failed government; we face a collapsed nation and a scenario where no one can help anyone else, because our country does not exist anymore.

8.) Ensure that children have not only enough food but enough nutritious food

YES. Yes.  Other suggestions; American farming initiatives and incentives to grow healthy food by Americans that will stay in America…. not too familiar with the farming industry to be able to fully comment on what’s in place now and what can be changed, but I do know enough to know that we import way too much of our food…. we need to stop processing and start growing.

9) Provide the leadership required to reach the 2015 goal

This is just a shameless campaign plug for Obama. I don’t agree with the major points of this initiative and therefore don’t agree with the administration that suggested it, though I do believe the cause is a worthy one.  They have just gone about it in a way that will provide immediate results that will not stand the test of time and will ultimately cause more problems than they have solved …. this initiative has the right motive, but their method is wrong.  I think a federal initative is the wrong move.  The economy is the key to everything.  More jobs = more employment = less childhood hunger.  A simple solution, a much more difficult implementation.

Side note …… “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” takes on a totally different meaning when the government is the one doing the feeding …. socialist state, anyone?

I do have a point to all of this.  I do know where I’m going and what I want to ultimately say …. which is that Public funding will never be able to care for the sick and ailing like private charity can.  Look at the current federal financial crisis.  How is that going to get any better by spending more money???  It is unfortunate, but families cannot depend on government assistance forever.  For a time, sure.  That’s what it’s there for.  I can understand that, I think anyone can.  But it has gotten to the point that unfortunately, families that truly need it cannot depend on it much, or at all, because the system has been exploited for so long and is about to go bankrupt with the rest of the country.  What is the answer? Private charity.

WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP

  • The St. Vincent de Paul Society is founded on the initiative of feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, and clothing the naked, three of the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy as taught in the Catholic Church. There is a SVDP chapter in every major city and they are always in need of volunteers and donations and financial assistance.
  • Visit Share Our Strength’s website, for ideas on getting involved in the food bank in your community, as well as other initiatives that can help parents who are struggling to feed their children well.
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3 thoughts on “Thoughts on “Ranks of hungry children swell, worrying doctors – The Boston Globe” [ALSO: Ending Childhood Hunger]

    Dorthy Sterling said:
    July 28, 2011 at 11:00

    I’ve been reading along for a while now. I just wanted to drop you a comment to say keep up the good work.

    Emily S. said:
    July 28, 2011 at 16:19

    I agree with most of your points here, but I would like to add one thought:
    As much as our culture hates to admit it, FAMILIES NEED FATHERS. I know you agree with me, of course–I’m speaking of the government and other society leaders. I’ve heard the largest demographic living below the poverty line is single mothers. It takes two, a mother and a father, to provide for children. Secondarily, and this point depends on the first, is that women working outside the home also makes this problem worse. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I know that children, especially little children, need a lot of care and attention, and this is what makes them healthy. With two parents, the child gets not only more food, but also more love and care.
    I would be interested to see how many of these poor children who do not get enough food have two parents living at home, vs. those with just one. I think it could be caused by the breakdown of the family as well as the poor economy.

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