Children living without enough

Today is the fifth and final day of our $15 a Day Challenge! We’ll hear about our participants’ experiences next week and will share them with you – we are already getting input that reveals the sacrifice, stress and inconvenience involved in living on such a limited budget.

This has been an interesting social experiment for us, reminding our readers of some of the hardships our neighbors in need experience. And on the last day of the $15 a Day Challenge, we wanted to remind you why the issue of poverty in America is so important.

This afternoon in America, one in six children is living below the poverty line. The poverty rate for children is far higher than for adults or seniors, estimated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at 13.3 million children altogether.

This level of poverty for American children paints a grim portrait of our economic future. We cannot pretend that our nation will be totally unaffected by these millions of children who are not able to obtain sufficient nutrients, education or health care while growing up.

While this is certainly a national problem, we want to also point to the state and local numbers of homeless children:

Earlier this week, The National Center on Family Homelessness ranked Florida the 43rd worst state for homeless children, claiming that 49,886 homeless children live in Florida alone.

In their 2008 Point in Time Count, the Homeless Services Network  asserts there were 8,466 homeless adults and children in Central Florida. There were an additional 2,700 children defined as homeless by the U.S. Department of Education because of their living situation.

At Coalition for the Homeless, we serve nearly 200 children on any given night. As we work to return their families to self-sufficiency, we also provide a variety of children’s services (including a full-licensed daycare, VPK program and on-site Boys and Girls Club) to help kids at the Coalition learn the skills they need to break the cycle of homelessness.

If our community continues to say, “children are our future,” it is our conviction that we must start acting as if we really believe it.

Poverty is hurting kids across the nation and in Central Florida – are you helping to address this issue?

To start tackling a national problem in your hometown, click here to learn how you can create hope for the hundreds of homeless children we serve each year.