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All Our Children

August 3, 2014

Screenshot from “Bende Sira” (a 2007 short film about a group of impoverished Turkish boys), Setphoto by Firat Demir (CC S-SA 3.0 Unported)

Arise, cry out in the night,
At the beginning of the watches;
Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord.
Lift your hands toward Him
For the life of your young children,
Who faint from hunger at the head of every street
” (Lamentations 2: 19).

In cities across this country, there are children living in abject conditions.  Each day that passes, another day of their lives is lost to poverty.  Each day, another generation is being lost.

Not Just Numbers

According to the US Census Bureau, 46.5 million people in America lived below the poverty level as of 2012.  More than half are children.  The figures do not take into account children in foster care, prisoners, the elderly in nursing homes, those living in military housing, or the homeless not in shelters.

I could cite other statistics.  According to a 27-city study by the US Conference of Mayors, requests for emergency food assistance had increased by an average of 14% during 2004, in other words, even before the real estate crisis and ensuing recession.  About 20% of those requests went unmet.

The situation has only grown worse in the 10 years since.  These are not just numbers.  They represent real, live men, women, and children.


According to the Bread for the World Institute, 35.1 million Americans (including 12.4 million children) live with hunger on a daily basis.  America’s Second Harvest, the nation’s largest network of food banks, reports that more than 25 million people turn to its agencies for assistance annually.  Nearly 95% of these are US citizens; 37.5% are from working families.

Absent Fathers

By 2011, 72% of African American women giving birth were unmarried (as compared with a national rate of 40.7% across all racial and ethnic lines).

The studies on father absence are too numerous to discuss here.  Suffice it to say that absence has been linked to earlier sex, higher rates of pregnancy, and higher divorce rates among the children of absent fathers.  Father absence has been shown a driving factor behind poverty, drugs, crime, illiteracy, Welfare reliance, and homelessness.

Personal Stake

A woman from one of Philadelphia’s more affluent suburbs commented on a news program about the survival of Philadelphia, “I don’t feel I have a personal stake.”  She could not have been more wrong.

Every last one of us has a personal stake.

These are our children.  Not only do they have inherent value spiritually, there is an associated cost in abandoning them — a cost in lost earnings and productivity; in lost talent and ideas; in increased burden on public assistance; and in increased burden on law enforcement, state and federal judicial systems, and penal systems nationwide.

White, black, brown, red, yellow or any combination, these are all our children.  We cannot relegate them to the ash heap without condemning ourselves.


  1. kaelinkedwards permalink

    Great post! I’m a new follower, and I look forward to reading your content.
    I’m a Christian blogger as well. You can check out some of my posts at
    God bless!

  2. In a nation blessed with plenty, we simply can’t imagine circumstances of many families who do not have much. Perhaps we can pray, “Open our eyes, Lord, so we can see what You can see.”

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