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Opinion | Season’s reminder: Every child, from manger to castle, holds future potential

There’s an urgent need for Alabama’s leaders to address the harrowing circumstances of our state’s most vulnerable.


As the peaceful blanket of Christmas Eve settles over Alabama, our lawmakers find comfort in knowing their families will greet Christmas morning with joy and abundance. Yet, this idyllic image sharply contrasts with the less fortunate children’s reality across our state. For many, Christmas dawn brings neither the promise of a hearty meal nor the comfort of holiday warmth.

Reflecting on St. Nicholas of Myra’s profound words, “The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic His giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves,” we’re reminded that the essence of giving extends beyond the holiday season. It’s a continual mandate, especially for those wielding power and influence.

There’s an urgent need for Alabama’s leaders to address the harrowing circumstances of our state’s most vulnerable – the children. In a land that boasts freedom and prosperity, the existence of child hunger is a stark and uncomfortable paradox. Poverty isn’t chosen, and hunger shouldn’t be a part of any child’s life. Basic needs – food, shelter, clothing – are not privileges.

In this season of giving, we must turn our gratitude into action, particularly towards children. The role of government, both at the state and federal levels, is pivotal in this mission.

Alarmingly, over 625,000 Alabamians, including 17.3 percent of our children, have been living in food-insecure households since 2020, as per USDA data. Hunger Free America’s recent report ties this surge in food insecurity to the ending of crucial federal support like the expanded Child Tax Credit and universal school meals, just as living costs skyrocket.

Moreover, the report sheds light on the significant number of Alabamians not availing themselves of vital programs like SNAP and WIC. It’s a distressing revelation that demands immediate and effective action.

Hunger Free America suggests actionable policies – fully funding WIC, implementing the HOPE Act of 2021, revising the Farm Bill to enhance SNAP benefits, reinstating expanded Child Tax Credits, and bolstering national service programs like AmeriCorps.

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Our state’s leadership must prioritize the well-being of its most vulnerable. As we celebrate this festive season and the gift of life, let’s not overlook those in hardship. The true measure of our society’s greatness lies in how we care for our children, the bearers of our future. It’s time for actions that embody compassion and policies that respect the dignity of every citizen in Alabama. We should all acknowledge that every child has potential, from manger to high castle.

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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