My Thoughts on the Epidemic of Hungry Children in America (via Dr. Oz)

I’m not sure how many other people caught today’s episode of Dr. Oz touching on the hidden epidemic of child hunger in America, but I did and frankly, I am confused.  Seeing families struggling like that actually brought me to tears and I found myself yet again grateful for all that I do have even though it’s far from where I’ve been and far less secure.

I am confused because I hear about families who are hungry, yet maintain a certain standard of living and yet food and enough of it seems like the first thing to go when there isn’t enough money.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that people aren’t legitimately hungry.  There have always been poor/hungry people in this country, however this episode seemed focused on the former middle class now having to use food stamps and send their kids to bed hungry because of recent financial hardship brought on by the economic crisis.
Trust me, I have had my own hardships related to job loss and have felt this economic downturn as most of us have, so I have experience with this myself.

I am confused because it seems to me that some peoples’ priorities are not straight.  It is completely beyond me how people are willing to use up the majority of what income there is to pay all their bills, yet have no food in the fridge.
Am I so far off base because of my own history of not-so-great money management and how food was always priority #2, right behind paying rent/mortgage?  Does no one else live like that?  I have always sacrificed paying a bill (or three or four) on time or in full in order to feed my family well.  How can people not do that?  I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if my child said they were still hungry and I had nothing to offer yet we were still living with certain creature comforts we could do without.

Again, don’t get me wrong as I understand that some are truly struggling and have already sacrificed any entertainment budget, cable, internet, and skipped bills, etc and still find themselves struggling and food is the only next thing to cut… I’m not referring to families in this situation.

I’m talking about the people who still have cable or play the lotto, or pay all their bills and don’t leave a food budget, or still buy cigarettes or drink alcohol and yet there kids don’t get breakfast or lunch/dinner on the weekends.

I see a couple with 5 kids and the mom has nice make-up on (yet stays home), she’s using some hair product in the kid’s hair before school they could go without, the kids clothes don’t appear secondhand (haven’t you heard of Goodwill? and kids grow fast and if you’ve been in this crisis for over a year, those weren’t just leftovers from when you did have disposable income), and you brush your kid’s teeth in the morning and at night… why bother brushing in the morning and use up that amount of toothpaste (5 kids & 2 adults – that adds up) and make sure they have clean teeth if they are going to be malnourished anyway?  Save money on the toothpaste, brush just at night and buy food instead.

Having the kids dressed nicely, hair primped and teeth brushed seems like a lot of pride going on – parents trying to keep up the appearance that everything is ok, but their kids are still hungry after eating what little dinner they got.
I understand having pride and it’s a difficult change to go from being the ones who help the needy to becoming needy yourself, but to freak out more over having to go to a food pantry than the reaction of hearing your child tell you that they’re still hungry just seems backwards to me.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but when I think about families still affording to pay the cable bill, yet not have enough for breakfast, lunch or dinner for all the family members every day, I have to wonder about their priorities.
I would have nothing else but just a roof over my head, hot water & electricity before I let my kid go hungry.  Why not pay your electricity bill partially (or skip it) and go to the grocery store for some food so your kids aren’t hungry?  It takes a lot before your electricity would get shut off and in some regions they can’t legally in the winter because it may be your only source of heat.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve skipped and been behind on student loans, medical bills, or even the gas bill… but I had food in my fridge.
I don’t get it.  Why isn’t food a higher priority for some of these people?  Hungry American children make me sad… especially when this country gives so much aid to starving children in other countries, but don’t even get me started on that – that’s another rant.

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About gwenacious

Always a person in progress. On a mission of self-improvement and exploring my artistic side.
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2 Responses to My Thoughts on the Epidemic of Hungry Children in America (via Dr. Oz)

  1. Miss Molly says:

    I did not see this episode of Dr. Oz but I think you and I may have some of the same experiences and feelings on the topic. I saw the clips for the episode and knew that it was going to tick me off so I didn’t watch. No need to add to my aggravation and irritation with people who often just don’t get it.

    I have a very difficult time feeling any empathy for the situation that you have described. I have been in the place where I was scraping for the food on my table, at that time the priority was the medication my husband needed to stay alive and keeping a roof over our heads (a very modest home)… I worked three jobs and shopped at Goodwill, didn’t get hair cuts or drive a car that guzzled more gas than I could afford. I remember my former sister-in-law complaining about not having money to feed her children yet her false nails, colored hair and new car were always spectacular. I was scraping by enough money to buy nylons… which were required for work.

    While there is no doubt “real” hunger in America exists, what is often portrayed is not, in my humble opinion, the most dire situations. C’mon people, sometimes you have to give things up to live within your means and put food on your table. May be time to sell that McMansion that currently houses 4 and sell some of those extracurricular material items that you really could live without.

    I rarely skip my bills but I am doing a better job of making sure that I do not have more in debt than I can afford to pay in even the worst of circumstances – note I said “working” on it.

    Thanks for your post! And yes, I am with you on the aid to other countries being another rant… you don’t want to get me started!

  2. Pingback: Update: health/weight, pregnancy & budgeting | Person In Progress

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