www.whyville.net Feb 13, 2011 Weekly Issue

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The World Today

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Your feet are slapping on the pavement as sweat drips in your already stinging eyes, clouding your vision. In the background, sirens pierce your ears as you clutch the wad of cash closer to your radically pounding heart. Your stomach yells at you for food, but that doesn't matter now. One word floats through your mind. Escape. You push your already worn out legs further and ignore your lungs that are screaming for air. Your ears pick up two other sets of feet chasing after you. You make it another two yards before someone tackles you and you both go crashing to the ground. Depression drowns you like a tsunami as you're hoisted up and cuffed. Your hands grip nothing but air as the money is ripped from them. A cry of desperation escapes your lips before you could control it. You worry about your starving family out there, waiting for you to return with the stolen money that was supposed to feed them for the first time in a week.

Imagine coming home to an all but empty refrigerator, the cabinets have crumbs at most. Imagine little children looking up at you with desperation and hunger swimming in their eyes. Imagine only making enough money to by a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, and a carton of eggs to last a whole month, for four people. Imagine your mailbox overflowing with bills that have huge red stamps that are screaming URGENT. The weight of trying to feed a family and pay bills with barely minimum wage from one person is just too much. And yet this is what so many people have to go through each and every day.

This nation, as well as so many others, struggle with poverty, homelessness, and starving families. I was listening to the song "Lookin' for Angels" by Skillet, and it made me think, is the world really that bad? Apparently it is. I never realized how sheltered I was until I decided to write this. Don't get me wrong, my family certainly struggles, but at least we aren't on the streets. Many people today think that America will always remain a wealthy nation, but so many Americans are slipping out of the grasp of middle class, and falling into the deathly hands of poverty.

Here are some crazy facts that might shock you:

- 45 million Americans were living in poverty in 2009.
- The U.S. Poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the OECD.
- One out of every six Americans is now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program.
- 25% of all U.S. Households have at least one person looking for a full time job.
- Nationwide bankruptcy filings rose 20% in a 12 month period.

For those of us who are doing okay financially, we can fight this. Donate to a local charity. Instead of throwing your old clothes away, give them to the Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Volunteer at a shelter, participate at the food drives in school. I know it's unlikely to completely beat poverty, but if everyone does something, then we can all dramatically decrease the number of people and families on the streets.

Find it in your heart to help these people. They did nothing to deserve this.

Author's Note: Source: www.businessinsider.com/15shockingfactsaboutpovertyinamerica.com


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