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A Christmas Prayer to End Poverty in New Hampshire

December 23, 2008

Concord, NH - A Christmas prayer for New Hampshire to end poverty comes from Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman, who says it's time to raise a mighty voice to reset what she calls the greed that has led to the current economic downturn.

As Edelman points out, the headlines may be about the adult worlds of banking and manufacturing - but their consequences are hitting children the hardest. In the Granite State, for instance, 39 percent of children live in poor families, she says.

"Hey, we've got some big, big problems. Open your eyes and stop being shortsighted and trying to get everything you can for this minute, while the foundation is rotting."

Edelman says, at a time when the world celebrates the birth of the most famous poor baby in history, it must be noted that the gap between rich and poor in the United States is at its widest ever. It's a trend, she adds, that hurts today's babies.

"You cannot have 13 million children growing up in poverty, nine million children without basic health care. You cannot have a majority of your children not reading at grade level in twelfth grade.

For those who have held onto their jobs, she says, too many are working full-time and still don't have enough to avoid losing their home, buy health insurance, and pay for quality childcare.

The Children's Defense Fund has mounted a letter-writing campaign to Congress to advocate for children's health coverage. Edelman says the goal is to deliver at least 5,000 individual, handwritten letters to U.S. Senators and Representatives by January 12. Learn more online, at www.childrensdefense.org.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - NH