Today, June 21st, is the first day of summer. The days are longer, the sun shines hotter, and school is out.
I have pleasant memories of my childhood summers. At the time, we lived near one of the largest housing projects in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As a youngster, I remember carefree days of riding my bike with my sister. We would pick up friends as we rode through the row houses of Hall Manor. We were often gone from lunch time to dinner. Sometimes my mother knew where we were, but most of the time she trusted us to stay within the boundaries of Baker Manson, Seward’s Drug Store, Hanover and Sycamore Streets. Sometimes we didn’t. Paxton Street was a busy urban thoroughfare near the elementary school full of allure. In addition to stop in marts where you could buy penny candy or a soda one of the fire stations was located on Paxton. They had a kid friendly Dalmatian dog to greet us and the guys at the station would provide cold water drinks before we had to pump the peddles furiously up the hill to head home. They were days of great adventure.
I’ve been thinking about the children and teenagers in our community over the last few weeks. Two teenagers have died because of gun fire and two more died when a beach outing went horribly wrong. What a hard set of circumstances for young people. I’ve also been thinking about the food insecurity that many kids face when SNAP benefits (food stamps) and paychecks run short around the 21st of the month. (Like today.) Nine days is a long time wonder what food will be available and how much. Many of the working poor have two or more-part time jobs cobbled together to make ends meet. Households are often one car breakdown or illness/accident away from financial disaster.
Food insecurity is a state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quality of affordable and nutritious food. This condition affects 24% of the young people in Wayne County. If growing bodies and developing brains don’t get fed nutritious foods they can’t enjoy carefree adventures, concentrate to do recreational read, or acquire new skills like swimming.
I’m pleased to share that the Finance Committee made a recommendation to the Congregational Council to approve donations of $2,000 to go to feeding programs and an additional $2,000 to go to disaster relief in our community. Both of these recommendations were approved. Food and affordable housing provide stability for youngsters in our community that need an opportunity to thrive. Thanks, GSLC for your faithfulness and discipleship.