What is Poverty? What is Financial stability?
Upon returning from our recent trip to War, West Virginia, delivering 52 boxes containing school supplies, cloths, food, toys, and snacks, We saw how people living with nothing. We want to share with you the reality of living in poverty right here in our own country. A poverty that we had never thought existed.
We arrived on a very hot day, on May11 and met with the Guidance Counselor and received a tour of the K thru 8 school. The school was rebuilt after a fire destroyed the original school in the 1950’s.
This is a modest, but adequate school environment where the majority of the children are from homes and families that have been devastated since the coal mines were abandoned. Signs of a once flourishing industry gone bad, are everywhere. Machinery and buildings were abandoned and left when their last day of production ended.
The school has become the safe haven and positive environment that is in some cases, the only such place in the town. With the unemployment in this town, businesses closed and even the Walmart closed; the need is enormous.
Food stamps were introduced to supplement the needs of the families and food shopping is at the one remaining grocery story, 1/3 the size of any Market Basket in this area. With the depressed economy, came the depression and the using of drugs and alcohol. The drugs are made from harmful ingredients that can be easily obtained, but so harmful. I asked, “How do they buy drugs and alcohol?” Food Stamps! This became the trading commodity to dull the pain of poverty. But, it is the children who are suffering with lack of family support, living conditions sub standard and little to no food.
This is where the school stepped in to save the kids, educate them, feed them and support them.
The school actually devotes a small room to clothes, shoes and other articles needed to attend school. This room supports any child that appears at the school missing articles of clothing or any other obvious need.
When the children helped unload our travel trailer, the asked if they could come and see the inside of the trailer. Of course! They were amazed! They first noticed the bed and blankets and then the bathroom. You have a shower?! We can live here!
There are those in town that are trying desperately to make War a better place. They have cleaned up a local pond and made a clean, peaceful, beautiful area to swim, fish or have a family outing.
The town is trying to create a new economy and a system of trails for either hiking or riding ATVs. This has hit many stumbling blocks is not happening. They are still trying hard to discover what industry could bring jobs back to the area. Jobs that the younger generations, who are being educated now, and who will be prepared and capable of driving a new economy. This new generation can put this beautiful area in the Appalachian Mountains back together. This process is now in hands of the teachers and all who are supporting their efforts and the children.
With this being said, thank you to Barbara McGovern for spearheading this effort. And thank you to all who have supported this effort with their generosity of food, clothes, toys, money and anything else. Also thank you to the children of the church who put together all the shoe boxes filled with “kid’s stuff” and lots of love. The children were so excited to see us and asked me if they were getting a “bag” today? Every Friday the children are given a bag to take home so they can have something to eat on the weekend.