Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Save the Children

Mission Statement: “Our mission is to create lasting, positive change in the lives of children in need.”

Website: http://www.savethechildren.org/

My donation: $10

Save the Children is one of the larger and more long standing non-profit organizations, providing a wide range of programs from prenatal care for new mothers to immunizing young children, building schools in developing countries and improving literacy and nutrition for children living in poverty in the U.S.

Hold up – what? Save the Children is doing work in the U.S.? I learned something new. And timely.

Until a couple nights ago, I didn’t realize the extent of poverty in the U.S. That is, until I started reading Jeanette Walls, “The Glass Castle”. You may have heard the buzz about this book, but in case you live under a rock:
Walls and her siblings grow up in what can only be described as poverty in the remote desert of the Western United States. While Walls and her siblings mature into successful adults, their parents ultimately follow their children to New York to watch them succeed, while choosing instead to live a life of homelessness.

The book is marvelous. But it opened my eyes to a very real problem that is going on all around us in the United States.

Did you know that 1 in 6 children in the U.S. lives in poverty? I didn’t. According to STC’s website (there is a “U.S. Programs” link under the “Programs” tab, in case you’re browsing the site) there are communities in Appalachia, the Mississippi River Delta, the Gulf Coast, the Southwest (where Walls grew up) and California’s Central Valley that are so impoverished that the conditions there resemble parts of the developing world.

Ok – plain English now? There are communities in California that are as developed as a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY.

It breaks my heart to think that there are children living within a hundred miles from me who are suffering. I was especially saddened to read that children living in poor rural areas are disproportionately affected by obesity because they grow up in environments with limited access to healthy food and limited opportunities to be physically active.

It doesn’t surprise me. I know you can buy a lot more calories with $1 at McDonalds than you can with $1 at Trader Joes.

But, just because it’s no surprise to me doesn’t mean it sucks any less. This one hits a little too close to home for me.

Go donate.

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