Monday, July 08, 2013

Tell me again...  

Why we farmers are so angry about SNAP that we're risking shooting the horse we ride into battle for our subsidies.
At the third stop, a high school football player pleaded for extra milk; at the fourth, teenagers fired rifles at cans up the road; at the fifth, always the most crowded, kids, parents and dogs waited in the shade under the trailer park’s only tree.
“Finally!” one of them said as the bus pulled in. He was a 12-year-old boy, shirtless and muddy with half of a cigarette tucked behind his ear, and he barged onto the bus and grabbed his lunch. “Bologna again?” he asked, studying his sandwich.
“I’ll take yours then,” another boy said, grabbing for his bag.
“No fighting,” Anderson said, as she handed out 15 meals and walked toward the back of the bus, where a young mother in a tank top and pink slippers was sitting with her 2-year-old son. The mother opened the toddler’s fruit cup and, a minute later, the little boy stood up on his seat, laughed and tossed the fruit cup out the school bus window.
“How dare you?” the mother said, turning to the toddler, slapping his bottom hard enough for the bus to go quiet, then pulling her arm back to slap him again.
“It’s okay,” Anderson said, hurriedly reaching into another bag for a replacement cup of fruit, breaking the rule about seconds.
“It is not okay with me!” the mother said. She turned back to her son, who was wailing, and yanked him back into his seat. “Sit on your butt,” she said. “What did I tell you about wasting?”
Anderson watched the mother for a few seconds and wondered if this would be one of the times when she needed to call child protective services to make a report. It had happened three times on buses already in the past two weeks, once for possible child abuse and twice for possible neglect. Stress, anger, desperation — these were behaviors she had been told to anticipate on the bus at a time when a record 10 percent of children live in homes unable to provide adequate, nutritious food. “Low-income families are being pushed to the very edge,” one of her training manuals had warned. But now Bible walked back from his driver’s seat and put his hand on the young mother’s shoulder. “It’s hot. We’re hungry. Nobody is in a good mood,” he said. “So I’d like to tell a joke. Have you heard that this bus has 2050 air conditioning? That means 20 windows down and 50 miles an hour.”
The mother appeased him with a smile. The 2-year-old went back to eating his sandwich. The meal ended, and the bus emptied out.
“We got them through it,” Bible said.
“Thank goodness,” Anderson said.
“Fifteen minutes and 750 calories,” Bible said.
“And again tomorrow,” Anderson said. [More about rural hunger that you maybe didn't know]
The program is an outreach by USDA to get to the 1 in 4 children living in hunger. 

Yeah, we need that money for our "painful shallow losses"...

1 comment:

Rick Pace said...


My wife runs the Providence, Rhode Island Head Start Program. 1200 children (and their families) in nine locations.

A group of us run a soup kitchen (I'm a Board member...Amos House) - about a block from her office - where 600 people line up every day for food (two meals, breakfast and mid afternoon).

A good friend, Julius Kolawole, runs a small urban farm operation for African refugees about two blocks further away....engaging refugee women in a farm and farmers market operation.

The communities situation has grown worse for five years...only now showing tiny signs of improvement.

SNAP, WIC (And Head Start meal programs) are critically important to brain development in our young folks...and a basis for social and religious improvement with our adults.


Rick Pace