Wince of the Week August 12 – 19, 2012
The EHRP Team winced hard when we read this:
Jesse Staley, a teenager from Harts, West Virginia dreams of graduating from high school and attending prom. While her friends buy prom dresses and arrange after parties, she struggles to feed her sisters and brothers. As other families choose between colleges, hers much choose between medical care and welfare.
As many of her friends live the life a carefree adolescent, Jesse assumes the role of the caretaker in her family. Her father is a hardworking man, but his 12 to15-hour shifts don’t provide enough income to pay the bills. She begins her days early, after her father leaves for work. She wakes up her brother and sister, feeds them and sends them to school. After attending classes all day, she fixes dinner, helps her siblings with class assignments and puts them to bed–all before starting her own homework.
Although the family isn’t homeless, they have only $120 each month to buy food. Often, there isn’t enough to last the month, so Jessie is forced to turn to charities like Save the Children for help. Her family suffers from the constant struggle to make ends meet. For example, choosing inexpensive over healthy foods has hurt the family’s health; Jessie’s father has a heart condition and struggles against obesity–the result of high fat, processed foods that so frequently make up a low-income diet.