Student Leaders Speak: Let’s Help the Hungry & Homeless
The Fourth Annual Month of the Young Adolescent Leadership Summit took place on Monday in the church. Community leaders came to listen to the voices of our middle school students, who shared their concerns and dreams on a number of topics, including their desire to make a difference in the lives of those who are hungry and homeless. Here’s a taste of what they had to share…
Dear Fire Fighters, We thank you for putting your lives at risk to save other people. Thank you for stopping all of the fires. If it wasn’t for you, lots of people would be dead. We wonder how it feels when you run into a burning building. I would be pretty scared. We also wonder how hard it is to put out a fire. We wonder about these things because we would like to know more. We worry about you and we don’t want you to get hurt. We worry that even though you try your hardest, the fire might continue. We worry because we care and if you are not here lots of people would die and you do so much for us. We hope you know that we care about you. We want you to be safe during your jobs. We need you to be and feel safe during your job. If you felt uncomfortable then you might not do your job right. Thank you for never giving up.
Sincerely, The Fifth Grade Class
Hunger and Homelessness By the Sixth Grade class at All Saints Episcopal Day School
Hunger and homelessness affects people not only in the United States but in Hoboken as well. On any night in America, 700,000 to 2 million people are homeless but hunger affects even more. In the entire world, a child dies from hunger every 5 seconds. Take a few seconds and close your eyes. Count to 5. In that time alone, one child has died due to malnutrition.
When you are walking down the streets of Hoboken or New York City, you may notice a few victims of homelessness. But did you know that every homeless person is homeless for a different reason. Some people may have lost their job or may be homeless due to bad choices or tragedy. For example, the supporter of the family may have died or they couldn’t find jobs due to the economy. With the economy declining, many people are not able to find jobs that pay for them to have a place to sleep or food to eat. One in every 5 families does not earn enough money to afford basic necessities like housing, food, and child care.
The Sixth Grade researched some surprising and outrageous statistics about hunger in the world today. Did you know that 30 million people a year die of hunger? Ninety-eight percent of the world’s unnourished people live in developing countries. Last year, 22% of people in the US lived in poverty. The hungriest country in the world is Zimbabwe. Sixty percent of the world’s hungry are women and 16 million children do not have access to a food pantry or an emergency food pile. These numbers are horrifying. We have to change this and quickly.
While these statistics are high, risks for health problems can be high as well. Hunger can lead to serious health problems. Some of them include trouble with breathing, heart and lung disorders, excessive sweating, and anxiety. More people die of hunger than many different diseases in the world today. Currently, New Jersey is ranked 42nd in the list of hungriest US states. While we are proud of being 42 out of 50, there is still a lot more people that are hungry. In the entire world, Asia is currently the hungriest continent with 578 million people who need food.
Due to people helping in the world, many people can rise up from hunger and homelessness with some help. You may be surprised to find out that many celebrities were once hungry or homeless; or both. This list includes Jim Carrey, Charlie Chaplin, David Letterman, William Shatner, as well as many more. These people were able to overcome homelessness and become the opposite of what they experienced.
While some people think there is not much they can do, this is not the truth. A couple of things that you as an individual can do to make a difference is you can write additional letters to politicians to address hunger and homelessness in your towns. You can donate money or food to the homeless shelter here in Hoboken or UNICEF. When you go grocery shopping, consider buying in bulk because you will save money, time, and waste. Remember to not waste your own food because you could be throwing away someone else’s meal.
Throughout this speech, you have heard many facts about hunger and homelessness. Now is the time to act! There are many different organizations that accept volunteers to help with this cause. Just by donating a bit of your time or a little bit of spare change, you can change someone’s life. Currently 1.4 million people in developing countries live on $1.25 a day or less. One dollar pays for protein biscuits for a starving child. Just think, 10 dollars can feed 10 children in need of food. So this goes to show that anyone can make a difference no matter how big, how little, how rich, or how poor. As children, we sometimes complain about what we don’t have, but when you look at developing countries we know now that we can go out and make a difference.
WHAT WE THINK ADULTS THINK ABOUT US: They don’t appreciate me; They don’t appreciate who we are; That we can’t tell right from wrong; We need to be told what to do; We’re annoying, odd, irresponsible, useless, troubling, crazy, and weird; We have mood swings and are always texting; We’re in the way; Not important; We can’t change anything; They sometimes treat us like big kids, but usually treat us like we’re 8; They do respect us, but we still have a lot of work to do; We will make change when we grow up; We’re young intelligent people who are going places; We’re still kids…but we’re more mature; We are funny, always happy, loving, caring, helpful, and friendly; I think my parents think of me in all the different ways I am.
I’M AFRAID OF… Spiders, snakes, death, failing, not being successful, losing the people I love and getting hurt inside, getting in trouble, war, that there’s no heaven.
I HOPE THAT… There will be world peace; we are respected, war will end, the world will be more green, I will make my dreams come true, there will be happiness for all, the world will go on forever, I will make it through high school, I will get my black belt in taekwondo, my dad will listen to me, I will do well in school, I will go far and achieve my goals, I can become a famous skater, people will listen to us, segregation and persecution will end, peace, world peace, peace around the world, PEACE!
I WISH FOR… A girlfriend, a boyfriend, a better life, America will get better, to inspire others, my parents to stop fighting, good grades, success, a joyful life, a dog, the ability to fly, a better friend, a bright future, happiness, no wars.
I WONDER ABOUT… The stars, if aliens really exist, the world, the future, my future, my adult life, my life as a baby, what goes on when I’m not with my parents, when the world will end, life, how this all started, reincarnation, terrorism, the economy, hunger, what people think about me.
IN MY LIFETIME, I’D LIKE TO… Publish my own book, do a triathlon, run a company, go to college, invent something, have a good job, raise a family, have fun, be a chef, a doctor, a lawyer, a judge, an athlete, a therapist, a vet, architect; be in the Olympics, perform on Broadway.