She’s only nine years old. Summer should be a great time of playing with her friends, swimming, going to the lake, and picnics with her family. But that’s not the case. Her mommy and daddy both work very hard trying to make ends meet. They’re good parents, but life is tough… for their daughter, too.
According to Montana KidsCount, twenty-percent (20%)of Montana’s children live below the poverty line. Do you know what the poverty line is? Well, for 2014 and a family of four, it’s an income of $23,850 for the entire year! Try feeding your family of four on that!… and 20% of our children live below that!
In a recent article by Dr. Janice Pelletier, a pediatrician who practices in Bangor, Maine, and the president-elect of the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, one way to reduce adversity in children (think: Adverse Childhood Experiences – or ACEs) is to feed them during the summer. Many children don’t like the summer break from school because they often go with out food.
Today in Montana, forty-six thousand (46,000) children struggle every day just to get enough food to eat. The long-term adverse health and social effects of not having enough to eat can be devastating. It can lead to serious physical health problems, as well as many social ills. But there is something that can be done, and we need our community and state leaders to act on it. For example, there is federal legislation pending that aims to provide food in the summer for hungry children. The Stop Child Summer Hunger Act would, through an electronic benefits transfer card, provide $150 for each child eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, allowing their families to purchase food during the summer months
Oh, and by the way, actions to reduce childhood adversity simply by making sure our kiddos have food during the summer can mean big financial returns! The State of Minnesota did an analysis that you can see here showing a 16% Return on Investment!
Read Dr. Pelletier’s thoughts, and let us know what you think!