In national rankings, New Mexico has some startling statistics regarding childhood poverty. New Mexico ranks:
- 49th in child welfare (2013 Kids Count Data Book)
- 44th in Child homelessness (America’s Youngest Outcasts, 2013)
- 1st in the nation for child hunger (Feeding America, 2013)
Why don’t we hear more about childhood homelessness and hunger in our community? Because the smallest victims are the least able to provide for themselves, advocate for themselves or work toward a different way of life.
The Title I Homeless Project defines a homeless child or family by the following circumstances:
- Living in transitional living programs or shelters,
- Living in motels, cars, abandoned buildings or other inadequate accommodations
- Families “doubled up” due to loss of income or housing
- Runaways or youth rendered homeless by others (these children are referred to as “unaccompanied youth”
Currently, the Title I Homeless Project provides snackpacks for the weekend to unaccompanied youth. There is currently not enough food to provide weekend snacks for the 3,750 kids considered homeless.
Some schools, PTA’s and individual teachers take it upon themselves to provide snacks to the most needy children in their classrooms as their personal ministry, but the need far exceeds what is currently being done…NM remains #1 in childhood hunger.
The Title I program estimates that 60-70% of kids in APS are on a free or reduced lunch program. However, on the weekend, many of the children either don’t have any food, enough food, or food that is nutritious.
Scripture teaches us to be very practical in our good deeds toward others.
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matt 25:37-40)
Jesus specifically spoke of feeding “the least of these”. The children of New Mexico are surely counted among the “least of these” as they struggle daily to simply have their most basic needs met.
James reminds us that it is of no good if we see a brother or sister without clothes and daily food and do nothing about their physical need (James 2:14-18).
Feed New Mexico Kids is on a mission to eradicate childhood hunger in New Mexico.
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