Some of you may have seen a recent story on “60 Minutes” called “Homeless Children: the hard time’s generation.” The report was heartbreaking. A startling number of children have lost their homes —and much of their childhoods — to the financial crisis sweeping across America. And the numbers are growing faster than most of us can believe. The report put it this way: “The government considers a family of four to be impoverished if they take in less than $22,000 a year. Based on that standard, and government projections of unemployment, it is estimated the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent. Those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.” People who never thought they would ever become homeless are facing tough choices after job losses and home foreclosures. They’re sleeping on friends’ couches, struggling to pay weekly rates at motels, or living in their cars. They’re desperately trying to keep their families together. It’s a hard life for adults — and an unthinkable way for a child to live.
For me, the hardest part of the report to watch was when 60 Minutes interviewed a group of school children who are currently homeless or who are on the edge of becoming homeless. They were asked to describe what it feels like going to bed hungry . . . how they study when the power gets turned off. I couldn’t keep the tears out of my eyes. Here at Shepherd’s Gate, we see the faces behind these numbers. We see worn-down moms and stressed-out children who have had to grow up quickly to deal with the harsh reality of poverty. By providing nutritious food, warm shelter, a loving environment, and practical resources to help get them back on their feet, people like you reach out to these precious families during their darkest moment. You show them the love of Christ when they need it most. I’m deeply concerned about the continuing impact of the economic crisis in our community — but I’m also deeply thankful for our volunteers and supporters who have stepped out to meet the needs of their neighbors. Please continue to pray and reach out to those who are struggling! And check back soon for more on the “60 Minutes” report and another special way you can help. To see the “60 Minutes” report, click here.