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Elizabeth (Alaska) I received an e-mail from my credit union today. I'm going to repost here with all the local references removed because it's likely that similar situations and programs exist in your area. I pass it on in case it's something that strikes you as worthwhile, and you're able to do something.

------------ Federal Credit Union is gathering non-perishable items throughout November for the ----------School Food Pantry. The emphasis is on breakfast items, because too many students show up at school with an empty stomach.

Now more than ever Americans are aware that many families - and many of them working families - are struggling. More American children than ever are living at or below poverty level. Sometimes parents are irresponsible, but often there’s just not enough paycheck to cover all the household demands. Hungry students struggle and don't learn as well as their peers. If you want to confirm this, talk to --------- teachers and staff.

We ask ---CU members in -------- to consider buying a little extra at the grocery store and bringing it by our main branch --------------. Suggestions: peanut butter, jam, instant oatmeal, granola or breakfast bars, cereal.

------------ Rotary Club on the first Tuesday of each month collects non-perishable food items for the ----------- pantry to send home with students over the weekends. Suggestions: soup, canned pasta, fruit cups, canned prepared foods, instant noodles, juice. These items may be dropped off at the main branch or the Loan Center (we have Rotarians in both buildings!).

If shopping is not your thing, we’ll take your cash donation and buy the items for --------.

Other ways to help the hungry in ---------: Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC) emergency food pantry through its 17-church network; Salvation Army weekday lunch program; ------- Homeless Shelter; Women In Safe Homes Shelter; the Lord’s Table (hot meals, 3 p.m. Sundays, --------- Church).

message 2: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 1274 comments I see an amazing amount of poverty even at my building. We are supposedly in a fairly middle class neighborhood, until you realize how many families do all their shopping at the local Goodwill, and not for fun or retro ciche. Shocking to find how many kids are financially WAY behind paying for their breakfasts and lunch. I keep one of my sewing machines at school in my classroom and regularly do repairs. Several of us bring our kids outgrown clothes to school and quietly give it where needed.

Elizabeth (Alaska) Thanks, Nancy. This was the sentence that got me thinking:

Sometimes parents are irresponsible, but often there’s just not enough paycheck ...

Unfortunately, we see a fair amount of alcoholism here. It seems these kids get a double whammy - lack of adequate parenting in addition to the effect of poverty. It's not the kid's fault. I can't fix the ills of the world, but maybe, together with the efforts of others, we can make life a little easier for some.

message 4: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 208 comments It's wonderful that your CU is doing that, Elizabeth! And Nancy, my family is kind of in the same situation...middle class neighborhood with kids who are going hungry.

It's not the kid's fault. I can't fix the ills of the world, but maybe, together with the efforts of others, we can make life a little easier for some.

Amen! It's horrible to see kids suffer the consequences when their parents are not responsible.

The English department where I teach sponsors a charity every year in which the faculty buy presents for homeless children. The liaison takes requests from the children and passes them along to us, so that we have some idea of what to buy.

Last year, the eight-year-old I bought for wanted only one thing: a winter coat. This year, the child whose name I got wanted "winter gloves warm enough to play in the snow with." I'm telling you, those requests broke my heart.

message 5: by Nancy (last edited Nov 05, 2011 04:35PM) (new)

Nancy | 1274 comments THANK YOU for bringing it up. It is very much not the kids' fault. I appreciate the fact our district doesn't let kids go hungry. If they don't bring anything they get a hot lunch - or 'alternate' if they choose - some yogurt, cheese, juice or milk, etc. If they are behind in payments, they continue to get it. And some are hundreds of dollars behind at the end of the year. There was some discussion of limiting it to peanut butter sandwiches after they reach a certain amount behind, but I have yet to see that enforced. It would be obvious who wasn't paying. Aside from the fact, we host the elementary severe and profound disabilities program, in which there are many kids with severe allergic reactions to things like peanuts, milk, wheat, etc. We even keep our breakfast program going at certain locations through the summer months.

Amazing given the outwardly average appearance of our neighborhoods. It is also embarassing to realize that many enlisted families in our community are so poorly paid they qualify for food stamps but are too proud of their "service" image to use it. They are so generous of heart. This year I had one sergeant's wife who came and gave me cash to order several extra recorders because she knew there were fourth graders who couldn't afford the $4.50 to buy their own. We have 'loaner' instruments, but sure enough it paid for those couple who weren't going to place an order. So everyone took one home. It seems like such a small thing, but its big to those kids.

message 6: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments It sure is big, and this was a great thing to post Elizabeth.

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