Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hunger and Finances

Have you ever gone to school owing the lunch lady?  You might have forgotten lunch, not had food at home to make a lunch, forgotten money for your lunch or simply not had money to pay for food.  America is facing that more now than ever with this economy.  I understand we might not be facing serious hunger like Africa or other parts of the world might face it (not eating days, weeks on end, or surviving on dirt).  But I know there are so many kids facing hunger every day in our country. 

I was pleased to read this story today.  A "Lunch Angel" pays kids' overdue accounts at an elementary school.  I have to say how warm it made my heart to read that!  Kids are going hungry at school or owe money to the lunch lady and here this guy stepped in and paid for these kids.  It isn't the kids' faults that they can't afford food.  Yes, parents should be paying for these but sometimes, I hate to say it but some just can't even afford that.  It is sad.  Maybe the parents are unemployed.  Maybe the parents have stupid spending problems.  Maybe the parents have just overlooked the fact that they owe so much to schools for their kids' food.  The possibilities are endless. 

I will be the first to admit after being out of work and struggling to provide for us, how so many things can add up financially.  Thankfully, my kids were able to get on the free lunches to help out.  I can't express in words how much that program helps.  Based on my income and our household size, we qualify.  Some homes are way worse off. 

Nowadays with the credit crisis and unemployment numbers, so many people are so behind or just getting by, if that.  Some families have had to move out of their homes, unable to afford the cost of living. 

My brother was living in a nice, new home with $1,600.00 payments a month.  It was the normal.  Home prices were skyrocketing.  $1,600.00 was considered affordable.  Both him and his wife were working.  They had two kids, a car payment, a mortgage, food to pay for, medical insurance and medical bills (after a daughter was born severely premature weighing only 1 pound 2 ounces) and so many other things.  Yet, they couldn't afford it.  Their home went from being worth $250,000.00 to under $100,000.00 in such a tiny amount of time and it was decreasing by the day.  Word of lay offs and firings were going around at work.  One day he found out the neighbors were selling their home for $80,000.00 and others in the same area were going for less....  The $1,600.00 payments were becoming unbearable.  In the end, he foreclosed.  He went from that 3 bedroom upgraded home to a 2 bedroom apartment.  Even with him and his wife both working still, they are always struggling with cost.  The thing is- you never know what family's are facing nowadays.  I honestly thought that my brother and his wife must really have issues if they are BOTH working and should be able to afford their bills, but at closer look they are the working poor that all too many people are facing. 

The Lunch Angel story  was as a result of seeing the story of a school in Utah where they were throwing out kids' lunches as a result of having past due accounts.  I personally was stunned reading that.  What is throwing their food away going to do?  I would have been marching my butt into that school screaming if they had thrown my kids' food out.  First off, how rude.  Second off, what a waste of food especially when kids are hungry. 

I completely believe in being responsible, bill paying citizens.  I believe you should definitely save up in the even of emergencies.  I believe in paying for your kids' food.  But sometimes I guess life has other plans for you. 

I am really glad I was raised frugal and have been able to stretch things as well as I do. 

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