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November 18, 2008

Child Hunger Rose 50%

Campaign coverage perpetuated a myth that the economy suddenly went south when Lehman brothers collapsed in October. For many people the effects of the weak economy had been felt long before that.

Here's the most striking example:

New government figures show that almost 700,000 children went hungry in the United States at some point in 2007, up more than 50 percent from the year before to mark the highest point since 1998. And that's even before this year's sharp economic downtown, the Agriculture Department reported Monday.

For those who need an economic reminder why society traditionally frowned on unmarried women having babies outside of wedlock, consider that the highest rates of "food insecurity" were families headed by single mothers.

In practical terms, what does this mean? 93% of those in this category said they were "eating less than they felt they should because there was not enough money for food" and 65% said they "had been hungry but did not eat because they could not afford enough food."

(Originally posted at Steve Waldman's blog at Beliefnet.)

Comments

The early church, at least from what I glean from Acts 6 and 1 Timothy 5, addressed feeding needy widows.

Would the church do a better job than the government? Do folks in church vote their answer to this first question? And do they love their neighbor according to their vote?

Acts 6:7 says that the gospel spread, the number of disciples increased rapidly, and a large number of priests--the sons of Aaron--became believers. Seemingly as a result of an effective church ministry.

Somewhat tangentially, it was for a ministry such as this that the first deacons were appointed. Me thinks we've drifted there as well.

You read a report on the sharp increase in child hunger and the best you can do for a comment is extol two parent families? Really. Sure when you have two parents you usually have two wage earners. Certainly not all single mothers are single by choice. And to blame women that bring children into the world instead of aborting them really doesn't help either. What this should help us to realize is that there is a role for the church...we should be coming along side single mothers, we should be advocating for real pro-life legislation that includes adequate funding for food stamps, earned income tax credits, health care for children and community supports. We should also continue to uphold the value of marriage and encourage children to be born in wedlock and to two parent families, but do it in a way that does not marginalize single mothers.

"For those who need an economic reminder why society traditionally frowned on unmarried women having babies outside of wedlock, consider that the highest rates of "food insecurity" were families headed by single mothers."

That's a bit judgmental of you, after all you are assuming that the single mothers listed in the report are unmarried and not divorced. But even if they are unmarried it comes across as being their own fault they're poor. I'm not sure that's an answer to Jesus' challenge to us in Matt 25. After all we will not be asked of our opinion as to the status of the least of these...we will be asked what we did for them. These statistics are a disgrace to a nation that professes so much Christianity and with the present economic crisis I think we can expect them to get much worse.

I have tried to comment on this at least twice already.

What I don't understand about this post is that with all of the many things to comment on about a drastic increase in child hunger, the poster choose to focus on a single motherhood as a cause of hunger. It is pretty obvious that one parent will earn less on average than two parents. But the focus is wrong. If we are really interested in a pro-life agenda, shouldn't we be encouraged by all of these single mothers that are struggling to earn enough money to feed their children. And shouldn't we be expanding the Earned Income Tax credit and insuring that food stamps, childcare credits and children's health care are properly funded? I am all for marriage and think that a married couple is usually better for children than being raised by a single parent, but I don't understand what blaming those that actually brought their children into the world instead of aborting them really accomplishes.

This is a prime example of where a pro-life agenda can have a positive bent. Many churches support food pantries exactly for this reason.

To begin my comment on the subject I wish to quote none other but the very General Dwight D. Eisenhower who said this: "Every that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and are not clothed".
Yes, while now America's inhumane and horrendous war machinery circles the globe, in pursuit of oil where even young mothers and grandmas join warriors to fight so called enemies. Especially when it comes to Iraq, while for years Mr. Saddam Hussein was a friend of sorts for America and using him to fight the Iranians who kicked out from Iran the Sha, who was America's oil boy. Yes, while all this is carried on by America, the nation under God, and now hearing how hunger in America is spreading while at the same time millions die yearly for luck of food.all over the world. May I suggest America now sent bullets mostly rather than food for the hungry!

Your story posits that there is enough food available; if a woman is married she could get the food. But because she is unmarried she and her children can't get the food. So where is the food she could have if she were married? In a warehouse somewhere? Give her and her kids the food! No one should be going to bed hungry, especially not in this country! Erika

Some of the preceding comments really miss the point and are clearly the product of conditioning and not logic. Single motherhood and poverty are inextricably linked. Those who suggest that addressing this issue gets more to the root of the problem than more governmental programs (which may actually worsen it) are shouted down as too judgmental by folks who have been brainwashed by the liberal intelligentia for the past 40 years. We know the well-worn drill: castigate military expenditures, judgmentalism, perceived US imperialism, etc., etc.

Treatment of symptoms is less effective than treating the disease. Apologists on the left for single motherhood, sexual freedom, non-judgmentalism-at-all-costs, etc. are more responsible for the problem than they'll ever admit.

And, statistically, persons with more traditional religious views are actually more willing to personally give money to charitable causes that fight hunger than those who want to use government to do it (thus appearing charitable albeit with someone else's money.)