The Holiday Season is here again, however, this year it will not be our typical Holiday Season because we are still dealing with the effects of the Coronavirus. Over 700,000 Americans have died due to the Coronavirus and another 1,200 are dying daily due to the virus (CDC). So we have numerous people who are grieving for spouses, grandparents, siblings, parents, friends and children. Furthermore, many parents are unemployed. Millions of families cannot afford to pay the rent or buy food. Food Banks are reporting a significant increase in the number of people seeking food. Parents are getting in line at 5 am when the Food Bank opens at 9am. There are doing this because they are desperate for food so they can feed their children. Many of these people had well paying jobs prior to the pandemic and they never dreamed that they would be going to food banks or churches looking for food.
A teacher asked her first grade class to write letters for Christmas. She asked each student to write one thing they want and something they need. One of the children wrote this heartbreaking letter asking for food and shoes. However, she was not the only one. Many children were asking for food, clothes and a place to live.
This video details the need that many families are facing and how many children are focusing on food and clothes for Christmas not toys. https://youtu.be/j_05ZuhqCZM
This video is the tip of the iceberg. Currently in the United States one out of five children are going to bed without food and are homeless (CDC). This is the United States, how are we allowing this to occur? While families are having to beg for food and a place to live, the former President Trump continues to lie about how he did not lose the election and spreading lies about the pandemic which only serves to make these children’s lives worse. Many have asked him to stop the lying and misinformation, but he ignores the pleas.
Many people assume that hunger is not a problem in the United States. However the current statistics of one in five children living below the poverty level and not having enough to eat and many living on the streets tells us that we have a severe problem in the United States. It’s not because they have drug addicted parents either. Many of their parents work 2 or 3 jobs, if they can find a job. As a result of the pandemic, we have unemployment rates that were to the Great Depression. I have children who tell me they are happy to be going back to school because public schools now provide free breakfast and lunch. Therefore, by going to school they get to eat and not have to starve.
I do see children in this situation for psychotherapy. These children are often depressed and see no hope for the future. They feel that they will be homeless for their entire life. In therapy I am trying to help them to not give up. The suicide rate has increased due to the Coronavirus pandemic and if a child sees no hope for their future they do think about suicide. Many children I see I need to see pro bono or for a very low fee because their families don’t have insurance or their parents cannot afford the copayments the insurance companies require.
The other sad fact is that the United States government continues not to act. Additionally, the few programs that are helping these families will expire soon. However, the Senate refuses to pass a package President Biden proposed to help these families and to give them their dignity back. Many of these programs are their only source of food and shelter for children. The children are the future of our country. Why would the United States, considered the richest country in the world, cut programs that will increase the number of children living in poverty? Should a child in the United States, need to be asking Santa Claus for food and a blanket? Where are our priorities?
Dr. Michael Rubino has 24 years experience as a psychotherapist working with children and teenagers. For more information about his work with children visit his website at www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/drrubino3 or his podcasts on Spotify or Apple or Audible.