Money woes mean rush at midnight to feed kids
Don Babwin | The Associated Press
May 19, 2008
A few days a ago I read a report were school kids were hording food to have food to eat at home at nite. They were taking food from there free school lunch programs. It is upsetting to me to see how people are willing to adopt kids in China now but are unwilling to help kids here in the United States.
Below is a story of a mom and her kids that need help ! What makes it sad is that they are here in the United States.
How do you think the kids feel going to sleep hungery each nite .
CHICAGO - Danielle Brown stands outside a South Side market at midnight, braving the spring chill for her first chance to buy groceries since her food stamps ran out nearly two weeks ago.
For days, Brown has been turning cans of "whatever we got in the cabinet" into breakfast, lunch and dinner for her children, ages 1 and 3, who finished off the last of the milk and cereal long ago.
"Ain't got no food left; the kids are probably hungry," said Brown, 23, who relies heavily on her $312 monthly allotment of food stamps -- a ration adjusted just once a year, in October.
This is what the skyrocketing cost of food looks like at street level: Poor people rushing into a store in the dead of night, filling shopping carts with cereal, eggs and milk so their kids can wake up on the first day of the month to a decent meal.
Here's what it looks like another way: The number of Americans relying on food stamps has climbed 6.1 percent, from 26.1 million in February 2007 to 27.7 million in February this year. Every state except for Arkansas and Colorado saw the food-stamp rolls increase, led by Nevada and Florida -- both also hit hard by the housing crisis.
The sputtering economy, persistent unemployment and the mortgage crisis have all contributed to the increase. The U.S. Agriculture Department expects the overall number of participants to reach 28 million next year.
It all paints a picture that experts say is becoming more grim every month.
"People with incomes below the poverty threshold are in dire straits because not only are food prices increasing, but the food stamps they are receiving have not increased," said Dr. John Cook, an associate professor at Boston University's medical school who has studied the effects of the food-stamp program on children.
On the South Side of Chicago, what it means is that people like Danielle Brown wait for the stroke of midnight, when one month gives way to another and brings a new allotment of food stamps.
Dennis Kladis began opening his One Stop Food & Liquors once a month at midnight nine months ago to give desperate families a chance to buy food as soon as possible.
"I'm telling you, by the end of the month they're just dying to get back to the first," said Kladis, who has watched other area stores follow his lead. "Obviously, they are struggling to get through the month."
ON THE RUN ALLAN