Jennifer, single mother of two, works 40 hours+ each week, but with daycare and other household expenses, she struggles to have enough left over from each paycheck for food - usually just $50-100 per month. Her eldest daughter, 8-year-old Ashley, says, "I'm like hungry when it's bedtime but I never ask because I always know we need food for the next day." Food insecurity is causing Ashley to grow up with grown-up concerns instead of just being a kid.
The Working Class Poor
Jennifer's story, highlighted in the video below, is part of the three-part series, Child Hunger Ends Here,with Al Roker and Natalie Morales. It chronicles how Jennifer is becoming part of a growing class in America known as the working class poor - those who cannot afford their basic living expenses, in spite of working full-time. Listen closely and you'll hear a pervasive sense of shame in her voice when commenting about not being able to provide enough food for her family. Even though Jennifer, Ashley, and Elizabeth have nothing to be ashamed of, they clearly still feel pain. This pain of social stigma is why Feed Washington cannot bring you names and faces of the kids served by our backpack programs; the risk is just too costly. But, helping them is not.
A Reason to Care
Ten million children under the age of 6 are food insecure in America today, 300,000 in Washington state, and there's actually a pretty compelling reason why you should care - children are our future. Literally. An FDA official addresses the issue saying,
"You know, it's important for folks to understand it just can't be the government. The government is part of the solution but it by no means is all of the solution - whether it's the federal, state or local government. Individuals have an opportunity to help. It's not just the charitable thing to do. It's not just the morally right thing to do. It just is economically the right thing to do, because if we have well-educated, strong, healthy, smart kids, we're gonna be able to win in the future. We're gonna be able to compete successfully in this global economy."
Excercise your reason to care by joining Feed Washington in being part of the solution for the children in our local communities. We currently fund weekend food for kids programs in Ballard and the communties of Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish served by the Lake Washington School District on an ongoing, monthly basis. With your one-time or recurring donations, together we are truly - solving childhood hunger one neighborhood, one school, one child at a time.