I’m always perplexed when I read statistics like 15.3 million children under the age of 18 do not have adequate access to enough food in their homes. I do not understand why, with all of the government programs that provide welfare, coupled with the private charities, children are not getting enough food. What are the reasons? Things I would ask include:
Are welfare payments simply too small to cover food? If so, are the parents also going hungry? Do too many people assume government programs are adequate and therefore not give enough?
Do a lot of people not know where to get assistance? Or is the system too difficult for people who really need it to get through because of all the fraud?
Do the parents get enough money, but simply choose to do other things besides feed their children with the money?
Do the parents work and their salaries are just too low to provide food, or are there that many parents who are disabled? Or are they unable to work because of lack of child care?
I’m sure that the answers are varied and very situation dependent, but in general, it appears that what we’re doing doesn’t seem to work. It is also frightening if the answer is that the amount money supplied is enough to feed the children, but the parents simply choose not to feed their children. If parents aren’t even willing to do the minimum of providing adequate food for their children, are they providing supervision, ensuring they have an education, and teaching them the morals and values they need to contribute to society? Probably not.
Perhaps we need to do something different. If the issue is that the amount of money given isn’t enough, maybe more needs to be given and more work needs to be done to help people provide for themselves (because everyone is better off when more people are working).
If the issue is not enough jobs, maybe we need to look at ways to grow the economy or teach people to provide more for themselves directly (such as growing a garden).
If the issue is that welfare money is being wasted, maybe we need to change how it is distributed and maybe provide goods like food instead of cash. Maybe we also need to control the money better because perhaps those who tend to stay on welfare for long periods of time aren’t very good at handling money.
Maybe the issue is that people are living in places that are very high cost, but they don’t have a job (or have a job that pays enough). In that case, it might make sense to encourage people to move to lower cost areas to make welfare dollars stretch.
So who knows the answers to these questions? Is there anyone on welfare who can say if the amount received is enough to cover everything if you use it wisely? What could be done to improve the situation? Does anyone work with welfare families who could provide some insight? I’d love to get your input.
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