Mar 6 2011
09:37 pm

Watch this and try to keep a dry eye:

This isn't in some third-world country. This is in America. Or what used to be.

The story: Homeless children: the hard times generation

jcgrim's picture

Billionaires unilaterally setting govt policy-

-policies that disenfranchise large swaths of our citizens.

I can't say this any better than Jim Horn at Schools Matter:

"Tonight 60 Minutes tells a story that will make you cry, and then hopefully it will make you determined to spit in the faces of Arne Duncan and Bill Gates. How long can these irresponsible corporate relics ignore the soaring poverty and homelessness among school children, while continuing to carry on their heartless demonizing of teachers and schools, the only remaining human institution that can offer these children any solace from the nightmares of daily living?

When Gatess, the Broads, the Fishers and the Dells, the Waltons and Koch billions could actually do something productive to relieve the misery of the 7 impoverished children in every classroom of 28, what are they doing besides trying to crush public schools and the teaching profession? How long can we afford to put up with this insanity?"

bizgrrl's picture

Donations rolling in

After the 60 minutes segment was viewed many citizens stepped up to the plate. The congregation of First Baptist of Orlando collected $5.6 million in two days, with one individual contributing $1 million. The Families in Transition program for Seminole County Public Schools received $37,000 in pledges, with $10,000 coming from a single contributor.

Somebody's picture


The families in the 60 Minutes video need immediate help, like food, clothes, and other emergency assistance. They surely do. But that help is only as good as the commitment of their community to also take the long-term approach to hang with these families and those right behind them so that they can sustain themselves and rebuild their lives.

Passing the plate and collecting $5.6 million is a wonderful thing, but by itself, it's just a transaction. Watch the video, feel bad, cough up some cash, move on. That's not enough. The father who swallowed his pride and embarrassed his daughter by begging on the street with a cardboard sign can feed his kids and buy another week at the motel if you give his some cash, but he and his family must endure the humiliation over and over if that's all there is. Those people need long-term commitment, not just to help, but to make systemic changes that break the cycle and reverse what caused this economic fallout in the first place. It requires each of those people who put a buck or a check in the plate to make a long-term commitment to social, civic, and political change to fix this.

Here in Knoxville, an initiative to deal more comprehensively with homelessness has been pushed back by a noisy few and politicians who lack the initiative to press forward, and have no pressure from their constituents to do much of anything about the issue. Without systemic change, the sweet kids in the video become the chronic cases in the future, because their world fell out from under them. The leadership in this community and others across the country don't just need permission to do the right thing on this issue, they need to be forcefully told to do so.

To make an imperfect analogy, you can look at polio, feel sorry for afflicted kids and buy some iron lungs, or you can demand that resources be committed to find and distribute a vaccine. Which is it going to be?

bizgrrl's picture

Also mentioned in the

Also mentioned in the article.

Companies have called with job offers for some of the parents.

I'm guessing that is what is wanted/needed by most of the people featured in the 60 Minutes story. They want to feed their children, which is what the charities will provide until they get working again. Many already have "temporary" housing.

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