, Newburyport, MA

October 8, 2012

All he owned was a toothbrush

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

I was watching the “Ellen” show on TV at 4 p.m. when she introduced a woman principal from an elementary school who told an amazing story. The principal noticed that several of the children at lunchtime were stuffing handfuls of small ketchup packets in their clothes. The principal asked them why they were doing that and found out that these children had nothing to eat on the weekends and mixed the ketchup with hot water and that was the only nourishment their families had.

The principal investigated further and found that many of the children were homeless and didn’t know where they were going to sleep that night — maybe at a shelter, motel room, in a car or on the street. They were in need of clothes, shoes, medical care, eyeglasses, dental care and food. The only possessions that some of these children had was a toothbrush.

The principal went on an all-out effort to raise money to deal with these problems. She visited the parents of every child. She found homes where the electricity and water were going to be shut off because they couldn’t pay the bills and helped them. Homes had no food and she got them food. She saw to it that children needing glasses and medical help were taken care of. She worked tirelessly on their behalf and got a big boost from Ellen with a $100,000 check.

These people are not freeloaders. They worked hard for many years at plants that closed down. Our industrial base was partly gutted so corporations could make larger profits with overseas slaves. People could not find any good-paying jobs and are working two and three low-paying, part-time jobs to barely get by — and not making it.

The large corporations really own Washington and many do not pay taxes through loopholes. Big oil gets subsidies while making $137 billion in profits in one year and the Republicans insist on keeping it that way. Mitt Romney stated that the first thing he was going to do is eliminate subsidized housing for the low-income elderly, disabled (that includes veterans) and working poor. Some of these people are confined to wheelchairs. Mitt Romney then wants to give the wealthy a $250,000 tax break and put government programs that help the poor and middle class on the chopping block.

We need a strong middle class and trickle-down economics have never worked. I wish everyone prosperity, peace, and God in their hearts.

Beverly Brown