Last year more Americans relied on food stamps to eat than at any time since the program began in 1939 -- 46 million. Yet once again some voices are starting to wonder whether we really need robust anti-hunger programs in America.
It is time for innovation, a bold plan of action that will create a path of hope and opportunity for those currently living in poverty. Looking at these daunting rates of poverty in this country, it is clear that the status quo is not working.
Our leaders must recognize the corrosive effects of poverty, but also realize there are tens of millions of Republican and Democratic citizens alike who stand ready to tackle this issue. And citizens need small amounts to make a big difference.
Unlocking the potential of Americans is the key to revitalizing the economy, lifting our communities, and strengthening our nation. Now more than ever, Congress must shed partisan politics and come together to break the cycle of childhood poverty.
America is the wealthiest nation in the world. The most technologically advanced. The most generous and accepting. We are the fastest car on the fastest track. We cannot afford to leave more than a fifth of our children behind.
At a time when poverty affects nearly one in four children in the United States, it's astonishing that a more vigorous debate isn't playing out in Washington about the best way to ensure that innocent children are not robbed of a bright future because they were too hungry to learn.
Compassion is within us innately as a people and as a nation. So put aside the rhetoric and ask yourself: how much more than enough do you need? Whatever that amount is, there is always a little bit more left over for those who don't have even close to enough.
Kids should never have to experience any kind of poverty in this country -- neither the more hopeful kind my mom experienced during the dustbowl depression, nor the kind the kids in West Virginia and Yucca face today. Let's make nearly one in four in poverty become none in four.
Imagine if we eradicated childhood poverty in the United States. It would give our kids what they deserve. It would make us an even greater nation, better able to compete in the global economy, and it could spark change around the world.
Keeping children out of poverty in America will take more than just local community efforts. We need national policies that provide more opportunities for low-income families and put more Americans on a pathway out of poverty.
In a country as wealthy as ours, why do we allow childhood poverty? How can we expect all our kids to succeed when almost a quarter of our kids don't have the basic tools of life, like books to read and food that helps them growth strong and healthy?