The holiday season is here, however, this year it will be very different due to the coronavirus. So far, 225,000 people have died from the virus. So we have many people who mourn husbands, grandparents, siblings, relatives and friends. In addition, many parents are unemployed. Millions of families cannot afford the rent or buy food. Food banks are reporting a significant increase in the number of people looking for food. Parents line up at 5 a.m. when the food bank opens at 9 a.m. There are some because they desperately need food to be able to feed their children.
A teacher asked her grade one class to write letters for Christmas. She asked each student to write down 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, clothing and accommodation.
This video details the need many families face and how many children are focusing on food and clothing for survival, not toys. https://youtu.be/j_05ZuhqCZM
This video is the tip of the iceberg. Currently in the United States, one in five children goes to bed without food and is homeless (CDC). It’s the United States, how do we allow that to happen? As families have to beg for food and a place to live, President Trump focuses on the lies about how he didn’t lose the election and is playing golf instead of chatting with world leaders about how that we can deal with the coronavirus. He is the president and the well-being of these families should be his first priority without playing golf.
Many people think that hunger is not a problem in the United States. However, current statistics of one in five children living below the poverty line and not having enough to eat and many living on the streets tell us that we have a serious problem in the United States. Nor is it because they have drug addicted parents. Many of their parents have 2 or 3 jobs, if they can find a job. Due to the pandemic, we have unemployment rates similar to those of the Great Depression. We were aware of this fact before the election, but the president refused to act.
I see children in this situation for psychotherapy. These children are often depressed and see no hope for the future. They feel they will be homeless for their entire lives. In therapy, I try to help them not to give up. The suicide rate has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic and if a child sees no hope for their future, they are thinking about suicide. I am able to provide psychotherapy to these children because I see them for free.
The other sad fact is that the United States government continues to fail to act. In addition, the few programs that help these families will expire on Boxing Day. Many of these programs are their only source of food. Children are the future of our country. Why would the United States, considered the richest country in the world, cut programs that increase the number of children living in poverty? Should a child in the United States ask Santa for food and a blanket? Should the country focus on caring for President Trump’s ego or the children without food or shelter? Where are our priorities?
Dr Michael Rubino has 20 years of experience as a psychotherapist with children and adolescents. For more information on her work with children, visit her website at www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/drrubino3 or its podcasts on Spotify or Apple or Audible.