Monday, October 6, 2008

No bail out for our poorest children

There are 3 million children in America, including 130,000 in Ohio, who depend on the reformed welfare system to meet their basic needs. The families of these children comply with all of the time limits, work requirements, extensive verifications and numerous rules of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant. An average family of two on TANF in Ohio receives $336 a month in cash assistance and would also be eligible for a maximum of $298 a month in Food Stamps. When combined, this only provides an income of roughly half of the Federal Poverty Level. Ohio’s benefit amount is close to the national average.

These families cannot meet their basic needs. The economic depression is here for them now. They must frequently depend on food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters. They are doubled and tripled up in their housing.

The annual TANF appropriation for the nation is about $16 billion. The Food Stamp program appropriation is about $35 billion. Both have been reauthorized by Congress in the past few years. There were no emergency meetings of Congress, no pleas from the White House, no media attention to address the 3 million American children who are hungry by design. Yet, Congress is willing to spend $700 billion to bail out Wall Street.

Jack Frech

It is time to face Ohio's problems for the poor

As I sit in my office today in Perry County, my heart is full of sorrow. My question as the County Director for Perry is," How will I make the lives better for the poorest of the poor in Perry County? " Looking out my back window I watched many children enter the church behind our agency to get a "free" pair of shoes for school. One after another they lined up to get their heart aches. These same children will not have school supplies, new clothes or a full stomach when they go to school the first day. This is a real picture of what is happening in every county in the State of Ohio. These are poor parents struggling to meet the needs of their families. They are trapped with no way out. How many of you go without a meal? Most poor children can't imagine having fresh fruits and vegetables as they cost too much. Their meals consist of pasta and whatever else the food pantries have available because they are running low on commodities.

My question to those that want to balance the state budget is," Are you willing to do that at the expense of the poor and especially the children."Someone with more power than a County Director must do something about this problem as I have personally done all that I can with the monies I have received. The choice is yours to ignore the situation or actually care about the people of Ohio. It is time to FACE OHIO'S PROBLEMS FOR THE POOR....NOT TURN YOUR BACKS !

Respectfully submitted,
Sherry L. Sterner
Director Perry Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services