Twitter was abuzz Sunday night with the usual chatter: plans for the upcoming week, one-liners from the Sunday morning news talkshows, polarizing comments on Tim Tebow's latest miracle victory. But many were also talking about the gripping report airing on 60 Minutes, which took a heart-wrenching close look at several of the 16 Million American children currently living in poverty. The report focused on children homeless and living in cars in central Florida, an area of the country where the construction industry had especially collapsed.
Entitled "Hard Times Generation," CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley led the report looking into the lives of several impoverished families, including the Metzger family of Arielle, 15, Austin, 13, and their father Tom. The children lost their mother at an early age and have been living out of a truck since foreclosure took their house five months ago. Tom is an unemployed carpenter who has been unable to find work since Florida's construction industry fell apart. Here is a brief transcript of Pelley's discussion with Arielle and Austin:
"Pelley: How long have you been living in this truck?
Arielle Metzger: About five months.
Pelley: What's that like?
Arielle Metzger: It's an adventure.
Austin Metzger: That's how we see it.
Pelley: When kids at school ask you where you live, what do you tell 'em?
Austin Metzger: When they see the truck they ask me if I live in it, and when I hesitate they kinda realize. And they say they won't tell anybody.
Arielle Metzger: Yeah it's not really that much an embarrassment. I mean, it's only life. You do what you need to do, right?"
The report followed the day-to-day lives of the Metzgers and several other Seminole County children beginning their days waking up and getting dressed in cars, brushing their teeth at gas stations, and joining classmates, 1,100 who are also homeless, at county schools. Whether it be seeing their living conditions, watching some paint motel walls to earn a night's stay, or hearing some children retell the terrifying experience of awakening in a car to witness family members being robbed for the few dollars they have, the report gives a troubling look into the hardships and astounding challenges for some children in the nation we all strive to ensure continues to be the greatest in the world:
Seminole County Public Schools have set up a website to help homeless kids like those who were brave enough to speak with CBS, as well as the many others living in poverty : http://seminolehomelesskids.org.