A Christian group in Georgia called MUST Ministries is feeding hungry children in some of the poorest areas of the state. There is a lot of negativity about Christianity in this forum, so I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread on a positive and laudable aspect of that faith. From CNN:
[quote]Cobb County, Georgia (CNN) – For many, summer means vacation, sports, camping or just time off to relax, but not for millions of kids living in poverty in the United States. There are few camps or beach trips for them, and sometimes not even three meals a day.
During the school year, public schools provide breakfast and lunch to millions of students in the United States. But when summer arrives, parents struggling to feed their children can no longer rely on those meals.
More than 21 million children receive free or reduced-price lunches at school. But in the summer, the number of kids participating in food programs drops to fewer than 3 million, despite efforts to raise awareness and increase community support, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
To help fill that gap, one community in suburban Atlanta is delivering food – and hope – in brown paper bags.
Must Ministries is an organization in Cobb County, near Atlanta, that provides food, clothing and assistance to families in need. During the summer, volunteers pack hundreds of bag lunches for some of the nearly 46,000 kids in the county who qualify for free or reduced-priced meals during the school year.
When she started as a volunteer 11 years ago, Must Ministries coordinator Paula Rigsby said they made 200 lunches every Friday. Now, they prepare up to 700 every day, and many parents rely on the help.
“During the school year, they do not have to worry about feeding their children during the day,” Rigsby said. “Feeding your own children in the summer time can be a hardship.”
Stephanie Bautista, mother of four, is grateful for the help. Without free lunches for her kids, she said, “I would have to go find something for them, or sacrifice something that I would want … for my kids to eat. So it does help tremendously.”
The people who Rigsby serves have been hurt by the tough economy.
“The way jobs are right now, it’s too low,” said Carla Rojas, mother of three. “Sometimes my husband works, but sometimes he doesn’t. This help allows us to save money by getting food for our children.”
Rigsby has noticed a change as well.
“We see a lot more fathers present that we have never seen before,” she said. “Usually the fathers never come; it’s the mothers that we see. Now the mothers have gone to work, either to baby-sit or clean, and it’s the fathers walking to the children in the stop.”
Such hardships are felt not just in this Atlanta suburb, but nationwide. The number of kids who qualify for free or reduced-price meals is growing; it’s up nearly 6% in the past three years. Families of four with an annual household income less than $28,000 are eligible for the school lunch program.
According to the National Poverty Center, children represent a disproportionate share of the poor in the United States. They are 25% of the total population, but 35% of the poor population. In 2008, more than 15 million children – 1 in every 5 – lived in poverty.[/quote]
More at link.