Tragedy struck on the Fourth of July
Peter hasn’t had much of a childhood. Meeting him and his family broke my heart. Let me share with you what I learned from my time with them.
When he was just 9 years old, a tragedy struck Peter’s family. They went from “doing really well” to struggling to get enough to eat. Not to mention the immense emotional toll on the whole family. (Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those we serve.)
Now, they are trapped in poverty because of this one tragic event:
On July 4, 2012, at a family cookout, Peter told me his dad “was trying to split up a fight.” One of the men involved got in his truck and ran over his dad — twice. Peter’s sister, Rhea, even witnessed the horror — and she was just 11 years old.
“It broke him in half,” explains Peter’s mom, Linda. “He is paralyzed from the waist down.”
Peter’s dad went from working on a farm every day and providing for his family to being confined to a wheelchair, dependent on his family for nearly everything.
Now, this family of four is trying to survive on Linda’s minimum wage income, disability and food stamps. Getting enough to eat is a constant problem — let alone enough nutritious food for two growing teenagers.
“We have to use like beans and taters a lot,” Peter says. “That’s about usually all we got to eat.”
And Peter is having a tough time in school. It’s hard to concentrate in class when he’s hungry. His dream is to join the National Guard so he can “help people.” But he has to get through school first.
“I’m in 7th, supposed to be in 9th,” he says. “I just want it to end.”
Peter and his family are living in poverty — real poverty that many Americans would like to believe doesn’t happen in our country. But it does and it’s heartbreaking to see.
And when the situation is this hard, the kids are very aware of how bad it is.
“We don’t have very much money to be able to get like food and drinks and stuff like that,” Peter shares. “And we have to scrape up the change or wait ‘til my mom gets her paycheck.”
Peter hesitantly admits to me that he has been so hungry that he gets a “big stomachache.” He’s small for his age and looks like he doesn’t get enough nutritious food. Peter also has scoliosis that causes “a lot of pain” at times.
Despite his own challenges, Peter is a very responsible, caring son. He does all he can to help his mom with chores around the house and take care of his dad. Peter worries about him. He says:
“I sleep on the floor because my dad, he’s hurt and in case anything happens, I’ll be right there.”
I saw Peter’s bed. It’s a pile of blankets. But he finds the good in it, saying the floor is like a very firm mattress and it helps with his scoliosis pain.
When I asked Peter what he wants most for his family, he told me:
“I wish that we had a little bit more food and a little bit more money. And I wish that my dad could walk again.”
I wish we could help Peter’s dad walk again. But what you and I can do is give them a little more hope for the future by meeting their urgent need for food and other household essentials. Simple items like cereal, canned vegetables, spaghetti and toilet paper can make a big difference for Peter and his family.
You can make a difference for a family trapped in poverty
Please give today to help feed hungry children like Peter and Rhea.
When we gave this family boxes of food and essentials, I’ve never seen the kind of response we got. Peter and Rhea tore into that box of food like it was Christmas morning.
Your gift today can provide food and essentials that will put smiles on the faces of children like these two.
You can provide food and essentials for hungry children like Peter and Rhea!