Monday, November 9, 2009

90% of Black Children Eat Meals Paid for by Food Stamps

When David Peyton lost his construction job, things looked bad but when his girlfriend Josie Williams lost hers too things got worse. He knew they had hit rock bottom when Ms. Williams went to apply for food stamps.

“I didn’t want food stamps but we really needed them. We have three children and just couldn’t afford everything off unemployment. We needed help. I had lived to be 45 and never had government assistance but times are really hard now,” he told The Final Call.

Nearly half of American children – including 90 percent of Black children and 90 percent of children who spend their childhoods in single-parent households – will eat meals paid for by food stamps at some point during childhood (one year to 20 years old), reports Thomas Hirschl, Cornell professor of development sociology and co-author of a study published in the November issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

“This is a warning sign that our children are at risk. The ideas of how children are taken care of go back to the times of Ben Franklin with individual responsibility. Children are exposed to risk and suffering because of these outdated ideas,” he told The Final Call.

The report explains that nearly one-quarter of U.S. children will live in homes that receive food stamps for five or more years. Food stamps are important indicators of poverty and risk of food insecurity, “two of the most detrimental economic conditions affecting a child’s health,” says Mr. Hirschl.

Read more in The Final Call

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