Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thoughts on Poverty

I watched a programme earlier this week on children living in poverty in the USA.  One in five of all children living in the USA live in poverty, go to bed hungry and are undernourished.  That figure rises to fifty percent if you are a child in a single parent family.  That's a lot of children.

Not much stands between life without poverty and poverty, just a job.  One day you can have a job and the next day you don't.  One day you are not living in poverty, loose a job, and then gradually you decline down into poverty.

This show mostly interviewed the children and the biggest thought on their minds was food. When you don't have a lot of money food becomes a focal point.  One little girl was concerned because her family seemed to eat a lot of cheap pizzas, (although I do have my thoughts that people could live more nutritiously on a limited budget, we have lived on $40.00 a week for a family of three, but maybe these families didn't even have that,) needless to say not much nutrition but a lot of carbohydrates, from which she was very conscious of putting on weight and being chubby.  She said to the camera person you could loose your job next week and become like us!

The second thought on their minds was the stability of living in a proper home and not having to live in a motel as one single mother and her two children did, eating tin food. Not going to school for a while because they could be moving again and she didn't want to go through making all new friends only to loose them and start all over again.  Having to give up one of their beloved pet dogs and take her to the pound. Or living in a shelter where you had to eat at certain times and if you didn't there was no going to the fridge for a snack you just went to bed hungry.

I also watched another documentary this one by Ken Burns on The Dust Bowl, 1931 to 1939.  One phrase that sticks out in my mind from that was They will endure because there is no escape from endurance. There was just nothing they could do to change their plight, except for migrate and that many did, but most stayed.  Of course the famous book of one fictional families migration is depicted in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and for many was that any better?

A lot to think about and count ones blessings.



  1. That is so true. I am so thankful when I get into my warm bed with a full stomach I often think of the many homeless here. We also have many families who can't afford to feed themselves. Though like you I do sometimes think it is lack of knowledge rather than lack of money especially here with our benefit system. It is actually the ones working on low wages who are worse off.

  2. It seems almost incredible that we have such enormously wealthy individuals and corporations and so many, many people (often invisibly) in poverty. I really worry about what the effects of reforms of the UK welfare system will be on disabled and low-income families.


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