Hunger Comes Home

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Sometimes the human cost of this economy gets lost in the background; coverage of bailouts and blame-placing often trumps what is happening to those who were "the least of these" among us even before the bottom fell out. Recently, however, Roanoke's WDBJ7 reported on a story that will rip your heart out, and one that is indicative of just how bad things have gotten.

Because Martinsville's unemployment remains the highest in the state (around 12.7 per cent), local children are feeling the strain at, of all places, food banks. The Community Storehouse distributes bookbags full of food to students from struggling families. But this worthy cause has fallen on hard times as the economy gets worse. From the story:

"We've heard stories of children on Fridays going through trash cans and getting cookies, whatever they could put in their pockets, and when they're confronted by teachers asking what are they doing, they say if I don't do this me and my brothers/sisters won't have any food at all," said Adkins.

If you notice in the accompanying video, the reporter holds up a massive stack of referrals from the Martinsville City school system, noting that demand is set to increase as Henry County begins requesting the same service for their students. This story is not only appalling on a moral level, but also a chilling déjà vu--it reminds me of the girl from my grandmother's kindergarten class who cried because she was hungry and it was her brother's day to eat. As far as these kids are concerned, this is not a "downturn," a "correction," or even a "recession." This is poverty.

I don't usually make fundraising asks and I don't intend to make it a habit. That said, if you can give anything to this cause, please head over to the Community Storehouse website, or find the equivalent organization in your community and give to them. We have it in our power to write our own legacy--how we respond to this level of poverty in our own backyards is a moral challenge. Let's not run away from it.

Cross posted to 220 South.