The following is based on this authors experiences, observations of local community and personal conversations from other individuals in my local area. The following may pertain to other parts of the country, however, just as each individual and families' circumstances are different, I suspect that each corner of the country is also.
It appears that during the holidays there a lot of people/families in need of a helping hand. I do believe that there are probably more people in need more often than we realize and pay attention to throughout the entire year, however, this time of year, people seem to be more in a giving spirit, so maybe this is why it seems to be more noticeable than other times.
However, whether it is the bell ringer at your corner store, the Angel Tree set up at Wal-Mart, or the long lines waiting in the local food pantry line, there are so many people in need of help that I wonder sometimes, whatever happened to that "American Dream" phrase I use to hear about growing up as a kid.
These days it seems like it's all anyone can do to prepare a decent, healthy meal to put on their table at night.
Many families apply and are able to receive "supplemental" help, such as "Food Stamps, WIC, AFDC, etc.", however, even this help is not enough to keep some families from drowning in a world of neverending worry of how and where to make ends meet.
Regardless, of some of these individuals working multiple jobs, cutting back on all and any expenses possible, any and all entertainment, these individuals/families are still not able to make it from payday to payday.
Why? To me, this is a question that I personally would like to know the answer to.
Some people, who may not be intuned to what the "everyday reality" for many of these people are, do not, will not, or even can not understand what these people are going through on a daily basis.
A lot of people would automatically say:
-- these people are lazy, let them work more.
-- they are not cutting back on things they don't need enough.
-- they don't know how to manage their money, or their time.
-- things aren't as bad as they seem to be.
-- stop whining, it will get better.
-- I'm not going to support these people, make them work just like I do.
This list could probably go on and on. Some people may just simply be oblivious to what is really happening in their own community. Or some people may actually just refuse to see the reality and turn their head in the other direction.
But, in all reality, most of these people with whom are living through these difficult circumstances, ARE doing the best that they can with their circumstances.
They may have just had a rough period for whatever reason and just need a "helping hand" for a short amount of time, to enable them to get back on their feet. Some may have health issues, or other issues unseen by the naked eye.
The thing here is that for whatever the reason or cause is, there are people/children that are struggling, going hungry, going without the clothing needed to go to school everyday, etc.
I have listened to my own young son come home from Elementary School telling me about things he has observed while going through the lunch line. There have been times when a child will go through the line, get their plate of food, go and sit down at the table, start to eat, and next thing they know they have a lunch person standing over them telling them they can not have that plate of food, and will literally take that food right out from under the child's nose. All because this child does not have sufficient funds in their account to cover that plate of food.
Now, excuse me, is there something wrong with this picture? Not only are they doing this right in front of the other children, but don't you think if it was that big a deal to not let them have food if they didn't have the money in their accounts, shouldn't they have caught this before they even left the lunch line? And then to actually take the food from them after sitting down and starting to eat?
Be real people! All I can think, is what kind of heartless people are they. Okay, so it might be said that the lunch staff are "just following orders", but I still don't think I would have the heart to do something like that. And then what do you think they are going to do with that food that they just took away from that child? Yeah, THROW IT AWAY! So why in the world couldn't that child have it in the first place.
Also, even when a child recieves "free meals", they are only aloud to get "certain" items. I've been told that parents have gone up to the school and raised a fuss concerning these incidences, Yes, it is up the parent to make sure the child's "meal account" is funded properly, however, if these families are struggling to make ends meet, this may be a difficult task to do at times.
Some of the income guidelines that are set up, (these might defer depending on the state you live in), but some families make too much money based on the financial guidelines, yet not enough money to make ends meet and are living payday to payday.
And then the government/state/schools are trying to tell you how and what to eat. They say there are way too many obese children. Yes, we all should eat as healthy as possible and the schools are "supposedly" implementing a healthier meal plan, however, I am also hearing that the food that the schools are giving out taste bad enough that the kids won't even eat the food being served. So of course, the kids are going to lose weight now, if the food is so bad. Guess that's one way to solve that problem.
Even when going to the store to buy "healthier" food, it seems as if the items considered to be "healthier" cost more than buying certain items that could be stretched further. So a family receiving a very limited amount of "food stamps" or have limited funds in which to purchase food and pay bills will usually opt to get the items that can be stretched further and last longer.
So, as I see it, there is a problem with something somewhere. Whether, it is the individuals who are not making the smartest choices/decisions on how to handle their finances; the way the economy is; the rules/laws/decisions being made from the Government; I personally don't know.
I am not one for getting on a soap box and debating politics (and have no desire to either), and I do not believe it is right for me or anyone, for that matter, to judge another on how they are or should be handling their lives. Sometimes, there may be underlying issues that an outside person may not know about a certain persons situation to fully understand what is going on in someone's life.
All I know, is what I have either observed, experienced or received information from a source who is actually experiencing these real life situations.
I also know that there are individuals who fight on a daily basis to survive, and then there are some individuals who are out there to "play" the system and get what they can, when in all reality, they might not deserve that "extra" help as much as some others.
This, to me, is quite unfair and completely wrong. As I see it, these type of people are only out for themselves and when they are out taking advantage of the "help" that is available from some of the agencies/churches who are trying to aid the "real" less fortunate souls out there, they are taking away from those that REALLY are in need, and this is just plain out and out "abusing the system".
Again, everything I have wrote here is of my own opinion and personal observance or experience. Everyone has their own views and I don't expect everyone to see things as I do. That's what makes the world and the people in it great. Everyone has their own beliefs, thoughts, opinions, etc.
However, if nothing else, don't judge anyone unless you know their situation and then remember, no matter how good or bad you may have it in life, there will always be someone less fortunate out there.
Help where you can and how you can. Remember, no one person can make everything great, but everyone can make one thing a little better at times for someone in need.
If you happen to be one of the fortunate ones that are making it through life without too much of a struggle, be thankful, and forever be kind to those who may still be working their way up and out of a life that they probably really want to make a change for the better.
Because It's All About YOU! and Changing Yourself and Your Life for the Better
(That is, it's all about YOU learning and growing in your life, so that you can eventually help OTHERS improve their lives in someway.)