Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2012, 6:00 am

View from QCA: It takes a community clothe a child; you can help

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By Kathy Hill-Jones

Runny eyes, noses, chilled arms and mucous-ash covered faces are all pictures of the Quad-Cities elementary school playgrounds as the seasons begin to change from unseasonably warm to cooler temperatures.

Along with these chilling observations, underlie the contagious coughs and sneezes accompanied by fever. This is the daily early morning scenario of school playgrounds across many cities. Each school day between the hours of 7 and 8 in the morning, many children leave for school under dressed for the climate conditions. Playgrounds are saturated with children shivering from the cold, awaiting the school day to begin.

As a former educator and community activist, this scenario is one that permeates my heart. There is an old saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." Today I would like to ponder the simple point; it takes a community to clothe a child.

The economy has forced many households to make the critical decision of prioritizing their budgets. The necessities of food, housing and fuel are the priorities. Many are not able to successfully meet that obligation. There are an astounding number of single- and two-parent households with one wage earner. We are living in times where minimum wage and middle-income wages are just not sufficiently meeting the entire needs of the average American family.

Because of the priorities of parents, they are unable to adequately clothe their children for the seasonal changes. As a former educator, I have seen the need for clothing intervention for many years. As a parent, I found it necessary to purchase warm clothing and winter outerwear for many years.

I thought it was a worthy cause to contribute a portion of my paycheck to help clothe children in my local district. There were many days that the few items I purchased were inadequate in comparison with the children who came to school under-dressed. As the need increased, my clothing allowance fell short. After a couple of years, I incorporated the support of a few other co-workers.

It was then I discovered that it would take an entire community to clothe and meet the needs of this forgotten group of students. I soon began to realize that it wasn't only in my local school, but I realized that this was an epidemic across the Quad-Cities.

There is a huge need to support your local school with clothing the children. Many educators are now concerned with children in their class who don't have proper clothing and are digging into their pockets to help, but they also cannot do it alone.

Schools across the Quad-Cities are maintaining clothing pantries of warm clothing for their students.

Local community organizations and churches are being called upon to help provide warm clothing, food and shelter for struggling families but local schools also need your help.

Contact your district schools and ask about their clothing closet and see how you can be of help this winter season.
My name is Kathy Hill-Jones is a student at Black Hawk College