Just yesterday I hear another of those public service announcements saying that one in five children go to bed hunger ever night. You’ve seen them in the papers and heard similar stories or seen the non-profit or HHS ads promoting the same idea. Who wouldn’t want to help starving children? But the question is first is that true and secondly what is the best way to render meaningful aid to those in need.
As the American sage said there are statistics, lies and damn lies. Do you really believe that one in five American children are going to bed hunger every night? I don’t. It would be nice if every now and then these groups promoting such an idea would publish the details of how they arrived at that conclusion. I mean the exact details. There is no way that number is even remotely close to the truth. Go park outside the school is the poorest neighborhood in your city and watch the kids coming out of school. Take a look at them and you tell me how many have the appearance of someone starving. Starving people and children have a distinctive appearance. We are a very large nation and there is no doubt that there are some children who probably do go to bed hungry at night. But the unasked question is why are they going to bed hungry. We have plenty of food. We ship literally millions of tons of food stuffs overseas every year to the third world countries to augment their food needs. Do you honestly think our politicians would allow that to happen if our own children were starving at home? We have many sources of supplying food to the needy.
First there is the Federal government with that bloated food stamp program. There are approximately 48 million people getting that aid now. Gee whiz, that is a lot of people, about one in six Americans. You would think that alone would be enough. But in addition to that with have a plethora of charitable organizations and church associations that also provide aid to those in need including food and shelter. Your church is probably just like mine and it would come to the assistance of anyone in need short term and help them get to other government sources of aid especially to see that they are fed. We, the big “we” as a nation and society simply do not allow those we know about to go without food. That is a fact, not conjecture. We have to bear in mind that many many of these non profit organizations and government welfare entities have their own agenda. Follow the money and self interest. Those government bureaucrats have their jobs at stake. Same with many of the non profits. They do some good sometimes and this is not a blanket condemnation but a proposal to take an objective look at them. Welfare is their “business”. If their business drops off then they are out of work. All those thousands of federal employees administering the food stamp program sure don’t want hunger to be eradicated because then they are done, not needed. They need hunger to justify their position and large salaries.
We may have a distribution problem or identification problem with those few, very few who have a hunger problem or we may have a societal problem that causes the hunger. There are some children from well to do families that go to bed hungry and maybe regularly because they have rotten parents who have addiction or other problems and simply don’t see to their needs. It is not a money problem but a parent problem. Likewise there are some kids who might not get fed at night even though their parents are there and have the money or food stamps but are indifferent or abusive parents. The poor, however defined can get the food stamps and feed their children or get food from Catholic charities or Salvation Army if they would make the effort; sadly, many of those parents don’t. Remember too that the needy children can and do get free breakfasts and lunches at school and can even do so during the summer recess. There is no shortage of sources for food. The problem is that society can’t go inside every home at night and assure compliance with decent parenting standards. The fact that very soon perhaps big brother will be able to do that and might is a topic for another entry.
We as a society and our government have provisions to feed hungry children. What we lack is the resources and will to have more responsible parents. When you do have a child truly suffering from hunger I wager that it is almost every time the result of a bad parent not that food is not available to that child. I mean take a look at the percentage of illegitimate children born in the black community. It is estimated now to be over 2/3 of all black births. Bill Cosby and Juan Williams have written spoke about the need for black fathers to be resp0nsible and be dads; dads that take care of their family. The same sad tale of increasingly higher percentages of absent fathers is true across the ethnic spectrum. We have the problem also of the parents who have all the resources; the food stamps and school feeding programs even when they don’t deserve them because they are gaming the system for everything free from society they can get and ignoring their own parental responsibilities; being hedonistic.
Next time you hear the suggestion that we have a hunger problem be sure to make the prop0nent of such a notion give specifics and get into what the real problem is with the hunger. It is not lack of food or government and non profit resources being made available. Our problem with that issue as a society is not in the stars but in our society to paraphrase the Bard.
“If men were basically evil, who would bother to improve the world instead of giving it up as a bad job at the outset?’ Van Brooks, American critic. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com