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A Mother Contributes Her Story

March 20, 2012

The newspaper comments against The Juneau Hunger Strike were vicious.  Thanks to the veiled mask of the internet many were hurled anonymously.  They resembled presidential talking points more than Recession-inspired common sense.  This speaks volumes about the level of civil discourse American politics have descended too.

 

Gdhanson: “Numbers, I want some numbers. You say advocates, how many are there? Is it a majority of the voters? I’ll just about bet it doesn’t number a hundred, if so, give some names and don’t add new ones. I want those you claim in the article.
For a few “advocates” we’re supposed to spend millions. $2M now, then more & more, we know how this goes after you get your foot in the door. Our country has done just fine up to now and I believe there are better solutions without putting us ever further into more & more debt.” (2/18/2012 – Anchorage Daily News)

 

Anclds: “The generation now EXPECTS government to take care of it. The parents are part of the problem with the same expectation. What happened to individual responsibility? Today their $ is not used on real NECESSITIES of food or clothes but instead for expensive electronic TOYS to send to school with their children.  What happened to RESPONSIBILITY?   The breakdown and failure of the family causes the failure to learn duty, responsibility, values and how to be a good “citizen” that was common in homes across America and at school. The COST is great and only increases; why is it the DUTY of government?”

Closer: “Oh, and hey, schools in the lower 48 are paying kids to go to school.  It’s working, too.  We could do that!  Below is the cite for only ONE of them! http://cleveland.cbslocal.com/

The By2015:AMERICA Movement agrees with the most basic conservative solution to child hunger in America. Poverty is best endured with stable, viable family structures. Through interdependence resources are secured, stretched and distributed more efficiently than any private or governmental structure may construct. Thus, the number one factor to reduce child hunger is to reduce family size.

 

This is stated while acknowledging the realities of a five year Recession.

 

In Mississippi one out of five citizens is dependent upon government issued food stamps.

 

The Federal unemployment rate is estimated to be somewhere around 22.5% or 68 million Americans.

 

To cover the budget last year Congress had to borrow $1.3 trillion from China.

 

Yet, Republican presidential candidates receive thunderous applause for advocating bootstrap public policies.

 

Jeannie Boisvert and her second child

The Lead Coordinator was blessed to interview Juneau resident Jeannie Boisvert, mother of 2 beautiful young women.  In 1998 she traveled with her first husband to Reno, Nevada. Through family Jeannie learned that Reno was one of the fastest growing cities. Opportunity existed there.

 

1999 found the household broken, over spiritual differences intense enough to generate domestic violence. With diminished resources, Jeannie was driven into poverty against her will. Abandoned by family, she entered a shelter with her youngest child, Miranda, age 4.

 

Shelter life was subsidized by federal dollars. This meant that she was disqualified for welfare checks and food stamps. So, this remarkable woman did what was necessary, she got a job. Two of them. Jeannie was the Assistant Manager at the KB Toystore for $8 an hour. She supplemented her income with a second job at the Bed and Bath department of Sears. Again, for $8 an hour. Considering the fact that minimum wage was $5.15 at that time, Jeannie was making good money.

 

The problem was the time spent away from her child. Miranda developed pneumonia. Jeannie lost her jobs taking time off from caring for her child. Since she was in hotel, she was eligible for governmental assistance. Her welfare check was $250 and $145 in food stamps. Child support, when it came, amounted to about $270 per month. The hotel room cost $75 a week, or $300 per month. Jeannie attempted to supplement her income with side jobs. At one point she held a painting job, earning $7 an hour and groceries.

 

To survive, Jeannie became acquainted with the community-based resources which were available. She remembers being thankful that she could rely upon her daughter’s school to provide 2 meals a day, breakfast and lunch. “Maybe I could give her a bowl of top ramen for dinner that night,” Jeannie said. “I was comforted that she was exposed to other kinds of food at school.”

 

It is the memory of this time period that inspires her support for Senate Bill 3.

 

Jeannie suffered American poverty for two years until she received a tip to come north. In Juneau, Alaska she found relief in a $15 an hour job. Thanks to her mother, who sent two plane tickets, Jeannie’s talents have kept her out of poverty and into a more compatible relationship.  She is happy.

 

Reading some of the comments generates a special kind of pain within her. The indifference to real suffering because of oft-repeated political talking points confuses her. It appears the fact that 19.5 million American children are hungry is being ignored. Why?

 

The Alaskan legislature ends on April 15. The By2015:AMERICA Movement seeks to maintain pressure upon the Chairman of the House Finance Committee to host hearing on Senate Bill 3. Please call Rep. Bill Stoltze at 907-465-4958 and ask him why he is refuses to perform his publicly sworn duty.

 

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