Monday, July 15, 2013

236th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
Congress: Bullies in the School Yard
Taking Kids' Breakfast and Lunch Money

Here are two indisputable facts.

On July 11, 2013 the government reported a budget surplus of $116.5 billion in June, the largest surplus in five years.

Seventy-one percent of the student population at Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) qualifies for the meal program. That’s the meal program congress took out of the Farm Bill just before they passed it. Now kids will go hungry. That, too, is a fact.

Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity in the country and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona encourage calling, emailing or writing senate or congressional representatives to tell them to pass the Food Stamp Bill so kids will not go hungry.

That won’t work because these elected grownups are using kids as hostages. “We see you want to feed hungry kids but we want cuts to women’s, seniors’ and disabled veterans’ health care programs. Oh, and by the way, major cuts to the school breakfast and lunch program, too.”

The game is incredibly unevolved and bordering on insanity.

The voters, the other grownups on the sidelines just can’t muster up any emotion or passion because they feel absolutely powerless in this situation. Nothing, not letters, not emails, not phone calls will budge these bullies. The bullies just laugh in the voters’ faces and schedule another fund raiser.

There is something that will work, however. All we need is one 11-year-old school kid with a video camera and a little social media savvy.  He or she turns the camera on and ask each kid, “What are you going to do when you can’t eat lunch at school any more?”

The reactions to the question will be intelligent, startling, heart wrenching and profound. Remember, kids always say the darndest things because they are no strangers to the truth. Then sprinkle throughout the video on a black screen some little known facts like “Just under half of the food stamp recipients are white.” Or “50 million folks are food insecure in America which is equal to the combined populations of Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, KansasMaine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia.”

All of the adults in this food stamp struggle, states, community food banks, schools, etc., are fresh out of ideas and when something provocative like getting kids to speak about the situation they are in, they (the adults) appear not to have the temerity to help kids pipe up their tiny little voices. After all, the kids have the most vested in this fight…their empty tummies. What bully could stand up to a kid who says, “Now, tell me again, why do you think it is a good idea to take my breakfast or lunch money away?”

No kid I know would back down from confronting a bully, because that is what they are being taught these days. Bullying is totally unacceptable.  But then why is it that adults shy away from strong, in your face ideas like helping their kids make a bold video statement about wanting a place at the table?

We’ve got some very old fashioned bullies in congress. It will take new fashioned ideas to embarrass them into becoming human beings again. Come on, let’s let our kids show us how. Give them a video camera and a class project: “Tell us what it’s like to be a hungry kid.”

The Word is Getting Out
Since September 11, 2012, the day Molly Thrasher published the One Can A Week video on YouTube, there have been 982 views. That means a fraction over three people from around the country are virtually walking through our neighborhood every day. Interesting.

We collected a total of 108 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $36.00, a $30.00 check and $6.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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