I've spent the last 15 years travelling the world for the World of Children Award visiting people and organizations who are making a difference in the lives of children. I've seen far too many children suffering from a lack of food, chronic disease and disabilities. When I've returned home, I've often thought how fortunate I am to be an American. Despite growing up in poverty after World War II, I always believed that hard work would pay off and that my government would be there in case I ever needed assistance.
That is why I find the current government shutdown to be so painful to read about. It is one thing to live in one of the world's poorest countries and wonder if there will be food for breakfast. But, now with the current economic situation, there are hundreds of thousands of American children not getting the meals they depend on. How can our elected representatives sleep at night knowing that there are children going to bed hungry?
The WIC program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, provides access to food, formula, and health-care referrals to 9 million mothers, babies and children. While each state is charged with taking care of its own residents, funding for the program ceased on October 1 and the money is quickly drying up.
Separately, there are millions of children who rely on school breakfast and lunches as their only guaranteed meal of the day. While these meals have not disappeared yet, many of these programs only have funding to make it until the end of October.
It is hard enough to fathom any child going hungry. But, there is NO excuse for that to be the case in the United States of America, especially while all the people in Congress and their legions of sycophants get paid in full. It is time for the American people to say enough is enough and demand answers.