Press release submitted by The Salvation Army|
THE SALVATION ARMY invites the Quad-City community to watch "FRONTLINE" at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov.20
During the spring and into the hot summer months of 2012, a film crew was in the Quad-Cities making a documentary about children who live in poverty. The duo followed and filmed three local children: One in Davenport, one in East Moline, and one who ends up in Moline.
The renowned PBS series FRONTLINE presents the one-hour documentary "Poor Kids" at 9 p.m. Central Standard Time Tuesday, Nov. 20, on PBS's IPTV. The program can also be viewed on-line after its air date at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/.
"As Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, one in five of the nation's children is living below the poverty level," said Major Gary Felton, Quad-Cities Coordinator. "One in 45 children in the United States is homeless."
"Poor Kids" travels to the Quad-Cities, an area described by PBS as "a great American crossroads along the border of Iowa and Illinois," to explore the lives of children living in the suburbs of the nation's heartland and growing up poor. Told from the point of view of the children themselves, the show offers a unique perspective on the nation's flagging economy and the impact of unemployment, foreclosure and financial distress as seen through the eyes of the children affected. The Salvation Army and other social-service agencies helped the filmmakers become acquainted with the families shown.
"This is an opportunity not only for viewers across the nation, but also the Quad-Cities especially, to see the homelessness through the eyes of a child," Major Felton said. "When viewers watch children face such difficult situations as those depicted here, people will better understand the work of The Salvation Army and how we meet the needs of both children and families."
To see a 30-second clip from the documentary or for more information, visit www.pbs.org/FRONTLINE/poor-kids, visit www.facebook.com/FRONTLINE or Twitter @FRONTLINEpbs #FRONTLINE.
"Especially at this time of year, with our annual bell-ringing fund-raising effort under way, we hope that Quad-Citians will open their hearts and remember the children who literally are their neighbors in need."
THE REAL-LIFE STORIES IN "POOR KIDS"
For 10-year-old Kaylie, the hardest part of dealing with her family's financial difficulties is ignoring the gnawing hunger in her stomach. "I'm just starving," she says. "We don't get that three meals a day, like breakfast, lunch, and dinner."
Her brother, Tyler, 12, agrees. "Sometimes when we have cereal, we don't have milk, so we have to eat it dry," he says. "Sometimes … when there's a cooking show on, I get a little more hungry, and I want to vanish into the screen and just start eating the food."
Their mother, Barbara, earns $1,480 a month. Rent and utilities consume $1,326 of that, leaving little money for food or gasoline. To help her mother, Kaylie spends her free time collecting cans.
"I just walk around, look for cans. I walk around the whole town," she says. "The non-squished ones are (worth) 5 cents."
Viewers will see Kaylie when she worries about missing so much school as a result of her family's transient existence. She also shares her fears about the precarious state of her family's finances: "When we can't afford to pay our bills, like our house bills and stuff, I'm afraid that, like, we'll get homeless and me and my brother will starve."
It's a fear that 9-year-old Brittany understands all too well. After her father lost his job, Brittany lost her home. Her family bounces from one relative's couch to another's before finally ending up in a dilapidated house on the edge of the Quad-Cities.
"One day I started getting in the shower, and it was cold," she recalls. "It was like, freezing. It felt like shoving your face in snow. The hot water shut off because we didn't pay the bill in time. It was overdue."
Brittany and her brother, Roger, lost many of their cherished possessions when the family could no longer make payments to the storage company holding their belongings.
"I was surprised by how things can change so fast," Roger says. "You can go from doing OK, not having to go hungry, to this: going hungry and having to pay all your bills and not being able to [buy food], on the verge of being homeless again."
In "Poor Kids," Brittany learns her mother is expecting another baby. The 9-year-old is fearful about how they'll manage to feed and care for an infant as another Midwest winter draws near, bringing with it potentially crippling utility bills.
"We always manage, don't we?" her mother asks. "Know why? We're survivors: Struggle, survive, and smile."
"Poor Kids" is a FRONTLINE production with True Vision. The producer, writer and director is Jezza Neumann. Lauren Mucciolo is the co-producer. The executive producer for True Vision is Brian Woods. The deputy executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath, and the executive producer is David Fanning.
FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund. FRONTLINE is closed-captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers by the Media Access Group at WGBH. FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation.
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