2022 is over!  As you may be feeling, I am so grateful to see it end.  All the illness, death, COVID, RESP, and the virulent flu.  As grateful as I am, I’m aware of unfinished business that unconscionably inflicts enormous hardship on families and children.

The year ended without The 17th Congress extending the expanded child tax credit – unable, unwilling to make a deal to extend the program that kept more than 50% of children out of poverty!  We know that the government has the power as it was very clearly demonstrated when Congress passed legislation allowing the Agriculture Department to give free meals to all students regardless of income. .  More money for families allowed them to buy more food.  Although it was extended twice, Congress decided it was no longer necessary.


Revamping the child tax credit would have qualified more families.   The program expired.  Congress let it happen.  How could they?  Now, parents have to apply and schools need to adjudicate which families qualify-which children will eat.   Some families can’t afford even reduced-price meals and begin to rack up debt.  This can lead to children being denied meals.


As a Special Educator, I encountered many hungry children. I heard other professionals questioning whether particular students should be permitted to have breakfast, even though they traveled long distances and couldn’t eat breakfast at home.  I asked how well could the children could learn on an empty stomach.


As Pope Francis asked when referring to the struggle of migrants, do we inhabit a culture of indifference?  He said he sees the faces of suffering.  I don’t think our Congress does.  He said that the worst of this is that we are getting used to it- a grave disease.  I suspect that Congress may be afflicted by the same disease.


Knowing that the child tax credit had such a profound impact on hunger, reducing food insufficiency for families with children, it pains me that so many again face this hardship.  Since the payments ended a year ago, child poverty shot up by 41%.  Yet the culture of indifference is a disease that continues to afflict our lawmakers.  We can be vocal.  We can ask our legislators: How Could You?