As a kid, we were poor. Maybe not quite dirt poor, but poor. I have nothing else to compare it to, because it seemed normal and so framing it in any other way is almost impossible. I saw other kids as having much more.
Because of my dad's inability to hold down a job or working at jobs that provided little income and stability, many times we just didn't have enough to eat. I remember getting the government handouts of powdered milk, dried eggs, peanut butter and cheese. There were many days I remember that this is all we had to eat and I got so tired of these things, that it took me a long time to like them again.
I remember going to bed hungry many times. I remember having nothing more than popcorn to eat. What we ate at the family supper table, wouldn't feed most people these days. To have candy or cookies or soft drinks, that was considered a luxury. My mom did the best with what she had, but there was just not enough.
However, somehow, my dad and one brother were always overweight. My other brother and I were underweight most of my childhood. How they got overweight, I'll never understand. My only thought is that there must have been a stash of food hidden somewhere that I didn't know about and it was used as a reward/punishment mechanism for the horrible abuse that went on. Somehow I missed out on that part of the abuse.
Going to school, we usually got free lunches or reduced lunches. While other kids complained and threw their food away in the trash, it was sometimes the most we got to eat. I didn't complain. I was just happy to get something to eat and could never understand my friends who were picky eaters.
I see people treating school lunch programs as a divisive issue in this country. To those kids that don't have enough to eat, that free school lunch they may get could most likely be all they eat in a day. I don't see most of the people screaming about the school lunch program looking thin and having to go without meals.
It is easy to vilify those different than us and those that don't have as much, but for kids that have to go to bed hungry, it is a matter of life and death to them. It isn't fun to have your little tummy begging for something to eat and there is nothing in the house. It isn't easy to keep yourself going and grow normally when the food is scarce. It is hard to concentrate and sleep. It is hard to function. It is hard to learn in school when you're so hungry.
One of the things I do now in my life is I help support Children International. I love this organization because even in the worst of times, I know that there are children out there going to bed hungry. They don't have enough to eat. Sometimes they don't even have a regular bed to sleep on or shoes to wear.
Because of what I have been through in my own life, I will not turn my back on those in need. I wish I could help more than I do, but I'm trying to do all I can with the means that I have. I get disgusted by those who have plenty act as if those who do not are some type of horrible humans.
I can only be reminded in this of the movie by Tom Shadyac called "I AM". If you haven't seen it and if you think the poor in this world need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps - go watch this movie!
Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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