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Child Hunger: Mom Talk

We claim to be the best country in the world, so why can't we feed our kids?

One in five American children does not know where their next meal is coming from. I first heard that statistic while waiting for Toby Keith to perform "Red Solo Cup" on the Country Music Awards Sunday.

The show featured new artist Hunter Hayes and the band Little Big Town. They co-wrote a song "Here's Hope" that food conglomerate ConAgra adopted to raise awareness about the issue.

Alarmed by the statistic, I went to their site, www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com. Sure enough, it says about 20 percent of kids in Will, DuPage and Kendall counties are considered food insecure. They don't know how long their food will last, and where their next food will come from. Statewide, that stat is up to 23.3 percent.

Another alarming statistic was that many of these kids are ineligible for food programs. That includes 42 percent in DuPage, 76 percent in Kendall, 58 percent in Will.

There is no doubt in my mind that the education system in our country is broke, and so is our ability to feed ourselves. (If we are better educated, we will also know how to eat.)

Welfare ain't working. I don't believe the chronically unemployed should get a handout. However, I am certain that our children should not go hungry.

I'm a pull-myself-up-by-my-bootstraps kinda girl. Sure, I've been given opportunities. I have also worked very hard and earned everything I got.

Starting at age 15 as the Talking Christmas Tree at Bergner Wise in Joliet, I never went more than a month or so without a job — sometimes two jobs, and a couple times, I worked three.

I believe that along with Providence, we are largely responsible for our own destinies. I disagree with a system that hands over money to multiple generations of entitlement who, though healthy, refuse to work. Social security and state aid should be for the elderly and infirm.

And our children.

We are failing yet another generation if we cannot feed our children. One in five! Count the number of kids in your child's class and try to guess which six or eight are hungry.

We all claim what a great country we have, and I agree. I'm one of the ones standing tall; I support our troops. My father served during Vietnam. I'm an Ameri-Can, not an Ameri-Can't.

Still, helping the poor is a hot topic, especially now during an election year. While the rest of us so-called adults continue to take pot shots at each other, politicizing such an important issue as feeding our kids, I'm taking another sack of groceries to my local food pantry.

Who knows, maybe the next time Toby Keith wants to wrap himself up in Old Glory, he will come up with a new song titled "Brown Bag for Lunch."

mray April 04, 2012 at 10:04 PM
What I see on a daily basis regarding free and reduced lunch, kid wants a milk, on free and reduced they are required to get entire lunch. Entire lunch minus the milk goes right into the garbage. What a waste. Free and reduced kids wearing designer clothes. I work for a living and school lunches are a luxury for my family.
Barbara April 05, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Better idea--write your favorite food pantry a check. They can get food from Northern Illinois Food Bank at one-tenth the price you pay for in the grocery store. We also need more job training programs through our community colleges so people can make more money.
Christine April 05, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Brad and Barbara, YES! The food pantries are working very hard to get as much food out to needy people as possible. Northern IL Food Bank is a great resource for them. I've seen the volunteers every single Tuesday getting boxes ready at Minooka Bible Church, and we've helped when we can. Kids love to fill the boxes, especially knowing other kids won't go hungry because of their work. Please, help your children to participate in service for others. It's not the government's responsibility, it's ours.
Chad Garland April 05, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Here is a resource I've shared with my clients at Cornerstone. It does include a food pantry, which is why I felt it pertinent to this discussion. Joliet Cares Event at Christian Youth Center What the event provides- FREE EVERYTHING!!!!!! Free medical screenings, a food pantry, a clothes closet, haircuts, family portraits, a warm meal and prayer. The fourth Joliet Cares event will take place on Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 10:00a to 2:00p at the Christian Youth Center, 1110 Manhattan Road, Joliet, IL 60433.
Teri Karl April 06, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Check out the documentary Thrive. It's very enlightening on this and other issues!

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