I read the mayor of Brazil’s comments about our position in the State of Indiana in poverty ranking with appreciation. Great things are happening in our community. I applaud our community. I especially appreciate all Brazil Main Street is doing to better our community. As we debate whether we are number one in our state (which we are not, and according to other statistics we are 29th) and applaud all we are doing to make things better, I realize poverty and median income is a problem in our community. Our mayor cannot fix the problem. We can, as a community, by working together.
I help feed children throughout the school year and deliver lunches through the summer to children through Clay County Youth Food Delivery Program funded through donations to Clay County YMCA. Many children are hungry. Yes, some families receive assistance, but we still have hungry children. That is unacceptable. Other children will never go hungry in the summer, but will eat bologna every day because working parents, grand parents and great-grand parents will see their children do not go hungry. How do I know that? Because a working mother contacted me and told me so and thanked us for helping giving her children variety, treats, and for showing up every day. The children felt loved and so did she. We help our community.
I do not want to criticize our Mayor or city or county as they are doing so much to make things better. They are improving our community greatly. No one of us can change things on our own. What we can do is enter into a discussion about how we change generational poverty, how we address drug abuse by parents, grandparents, and grand-parents, how we help families who are doing their best and it isn’t enough and help children change the pattern of generational poverty. How we can support single parents doing their best to raise their children, while working full time, and still it is not enough to pay the bills. How we all come to the realization there are children in our community living without water or electricity or both. Some with no windows in their home. Over 80 percent of the children who become DCS cases and taken away from parents are drug related. And they are the worst cases. Many others slip by.
We can only change this as a community once we decided to face our problems, discuss our problems, and work to make a difference together. Each child has a story. So do their care givers. Let’s help them, Clay County. We need to talk. No one person can change things. If we want to change poverty in our community, we need to do it together.
I know a high school student who can explain the difference between generational and situational poverty perfectly. She understands something adults don’t understand. I simply find hungry children unacceptable and ask anyone who does not understand to help me meet our kids in the summer through at Clay County Youth Food Delivery Program. Our children are not “those people.” They are children and they are who we need to reach to change things in our community. There is no “those people.” They all have a story. Let’s figure out how we change things Clay County. I invite our Mayor to join us and meet them and help us figure out how to help our children.
Terry Barr is a volunteer for the Clay county Youth Food Delivery Program and a volunteer for Friends of Forest Park Elementary School.