Blog Action Day is giving me, and anyone else that would like to participate, the opportunity to blog about poverty. They have two immediate goals: raise awareness and raise money. For blogs that generate revenue they ask you to donate your proceeds from October 15. Pink Asparagus does not generate revenue. So for every distinct commenter to this post from now to October 15 I will donate $1 (cap to be determined) to my local food bank in Blog Action Day’s name (yes, it was Kiva, but as I started writing this I took a new perspective). Comment. Tell your friends to comment. Be part of the discussion.
Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom (World Bank).
When I was in elementary school my friends had free and reduced lunches. Their families looked like mine: single working parent; I was the only only-child I knew though. I asked my mom why I didn’t get my lunch for free like my friends. She put it simply, we were lucky. We were lucky that she had a good job. We were lucky that she could afford to pay for my lunch. Being a kid, I probably thought they were the lucky ones, they didn’t have to remember to bring three quarters to school every day.
We were fortunate.
In our current school district today, a family of four has to have an annual income below $39,220 to qualify for free/reduced lunch. Elementary lunch in my district costs $2.10. If you have two kids in school and they eat school lunch 60% of the time, that’s $12.60/week. You’re looking at about $50/month. My basic math leads me to believe that there are too many families that would benefit from this service and are ineligible.
Poverty isn’t something that just happens to someone else in some other country. Your children know kids that are living in poverty. Every day. Every night there are American children going to bed with empty tummies. Every morning there are parents sending their children off to school wondering where they’ll find the money for dinner tonight.
We have to be the change we want to see. We have to make a choice that social programs work. Help me put my money where my mouth is. Comment. Anything. Leave your links to your own Blog Action Day posts.
Poverty is a broad topic. This post has been written and rewritten a few times. I wish I could speak eloquently to poverty in America. Maybe that’s your role? Maybe you have those words? Be part of the discussion.
edited (10/13/08): I’ve removed the $100 cap for my own donation. That’s not to say it’s unlimited, but I thought $100 was adventureous when I originally wrote this post. We’ve surpassed it and I’d like to see a good thing continue.