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Holidays 2012

Kids Count

Almost 67 percent of Americans own their own homes and even though the recession has taken its toll on home ownership, most Americans still own their homes. Even the poorest among us are provided resources when needed to provide a place to live when ownership or renting cannot be secured independently.

Measures of poverty worldwide have been recently upgraded from people living on one dollar a day to one dollar and twenty five cents a day. Just over 1.5 billion people are living at this unbelievably low level. While every nation in the world struggles with the issue of poverty, Americans can rely on government programs and local relief efforts such as food pantries until they can get back on their feet. Many places in the world do not have these opportunities.

I had the opportunity to meet with a small group of students from an African country quite a few years ago and they had been receiving boxes of American magazines that would have otherwise been thrown out. One of the girls commented that while they enjoyed reading the stories in the many different magazines, it was difficult to see the advertisements. Many of the advertisements depicted people in their new convertible, people riding in a speedboat, watching their big screen television or playing a new game system. To this young girl, it almost seemed criminal that we spent so much money entertaining ourselves while so many of her people were dying form disease, starvation, lack of education and poor nutrition. I remember feeling a little ashamed that I did not have an answer other than to say that many Americans give generously to a variety of relief efforts in her country.

Many of us are busy buying last minute presents for friends and family. We will spend more than we should and worry about it later. We will enjoy Christmas with our families and friends; we will pass out presents and then enjoy the Christmas feast. Many of us will eat too much and loosen our belts when we sit down to watch a movie and to fall asleep on the couch. In so many ways we are fortunate to have the abundance that we have.

Reach the writer at hurlburt@wildblue.net.

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