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Our Great Recession 2.0: No Free Lunches

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If you’re reading this, odds are you’re considering bankruptcy. As such, you have a lot on your plate. Yet, what might make you feel a bit better about being bankruptcy bound is the knowledge that you’re not alone. Millions of average Americans just like you are facing desperate circumstances as they struggle to stay afloat in the wake of this decade’s Great Recession—facing foreclosure, job insecurity, rising costs and, of course, insolvency.  In the series, Our Great Recession 2.0, we’ll delve into some of the more unique stories of this decade’s unprecedented economic downturn, allowing you to see familiar faces and dire places people are going in order to handle the financial meltdown head-on.

In part two of this ongoing series, we meet mother of two, Lisa Lewis.

Lewis, who shared her plight with The Huffington Post’s Heather Hollingsworth, worried about how to pay for her son’s school lunches. The 37-year-old works part-time at a Kansas daycare, earning just minimum wage. With her part-time job she attempts to support herself, her unemployed husband, her stepson and her 11th-grade son. "I sometimes cry myself to sleep wondering how I am going to keep my family fed and things like that," Lewis told Hollingsworth. "I'm making it but barely."

Fortunately, Lewis qualified government assistance to pay for her youngest son’s meals with her older son already a part of the subsidized lunch program. As Hollingsworth writes, “In the midst of a blistering recession, more families are flocking to the federal program that gives students free or reduced-priced lunches. During the 2008-2009 school year, about 19 million students received free and reduced lunches, which is 895,000 more than the previous year – a jump of nearly 5 percent and that greatly outpaced the overall increase in school enrollment, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service. Typically, the increases are about 1 to 2 percent each year. To qualify for the mostly federally funded school meal program, a family of four can earn no more than $28,665 for free lunch and $40,793 for reduced-cost lunches of no more than 40 cents. The guidelines are different in Alaska and Hawaii, where families can earn more and still qualify.”

As more and more children qualify for subsidized lunches, many beleaguered school districts are having a tough time providing free or reduced lunches with the money allotted by the federal government. These same districts are siphoning from other areas of their budgets simply to make ends meet for their students.

As Hollingsworth puts it, “For all, it's a stark example of how the recession is hurting families. And when life is not stable at home, everything changes.” Topeka, Kansas, Superintendent Mike Mathes, told Hollingsworth that one of the most heartbreaking stories he has come across is 11 students from three families crowded into a rental home and a trailer parked outside. “The number one priority in those kids' lives isn't school, it's surviving,” Mathes said.

For families like these in Kansas, it’s all about riding out their own Great Recession.

If you’ve been effected by the economy and are wondering how to put food on the table—at home or otherwise—knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help you to conquer your creditors and face your financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a viable and secure future beyond our own “Great Recession.”  The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.

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