Posted in: Louisville Information, Louisville Real Estate, What to do in Louisville, Author: Younger Group (December 23, 2011)
This is the season try to focus on peace, goodwill toward men, and loving your neighbor. Even if you don’t catch this spirit of love and joy from the religious meaning of the season, a hundred Hallmark movies will remind you of what is possible. As I and the other members of the Younger Group wish you a heartfelt Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah, we are aware of how many in Louisville need a helping hand.
We know of the Toys for Tots and coat drives; we have seen the red Salvation Army buckets and maybe participated in the Angel Tree effort to help needy families. Sometimes it really hits home that the “needy” are right among us, often unrecognized. In a society where many are a paycheck or two away from being in desperate shape.
All this hit home the other day when I read a story in the Louisville Courier Journal about some kids at Crosby Middle School who learned this lesson first hand. After seeing a 60 Minutes story “Hard Times Generation,” about homeless children in America in science teacher Jason Quinn’s class, Breya Jones and her other 8th grade classmates learned that there were 28 students at Crosby considered homeless by the District.
She was stunned “I’ve seen people downtown and I know about shelters. I didn’t think about how kids could be in that situation. I didn’t think about how it could be kids I see in the hallway.”
As student Shemar Maxwell added “I really felt kind of bad that this goes on. I think all kids should be equal and have the same lifestyle. It shouldn’t be so easy for some and so hard for others.”
The class started collecting clothes, hygiene items, and food and then served as the organizers when the drive went school-wide. Two teachers, Quinn, and Elizabeth Gleeson, and the school’s Youth Service Center coordinator, Paula Wolf, worked with the students.
Throughout the process, the homeless students were not identified. Donated items piled up in Ms. Gleason’s classrooms, and students sorted them during homerooms periods. They made posters and talked about the problem . Mostly importantly, they became aware of a widespread problem that will continue long after their drive; with their budding social conscience nurtured , they may grow up to more sensitive to the needs of others. As Shemar said, “It’s not enough to stop now.”
Within Jefferson County Public Schools, there are between 8,000 and 10,000 students who are considered homeless. Donations beyond what Crosby’s 28 need will be donated to others in the District, but all these kids have ongoing needs.
Hunger in Kentucky is meant to tell the story of the 684,000 people living in poverty in the Commonwealth. They are not all living on the streets – they are waiting on us in restaurants, driving our child’s bus to school, living on fixed incomes in retirement. They are our neighbors, family, and friends and they need our help. The mission of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks (KAFB) is to maximize the effectiveness of Feeding America food banks serving Kentucky by providing food to feed hungry people.
Those of us able to do something about this continuing problem should take a step to do it. As we make New Year’s resolution, perhaps one should be to incorporate regularly reaching out to others in our plans. That is what we try to do at the Younger Group and what I am trying ingrain in mn daughter, Memphis, who celebrates her first Christmas this year.
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. We appreciate your business in 2011 and hope to serve you again in 2012