Mom writes about taking her kids to a soup kitchen

Filed under: Work Life, Single Parenting

dollar signParents every where are finding themselves saying "no" more often this summer. This tough economy, coupled with painful gas prices and the rising costs of feeding a family mean that there's less money leftover for luxury items. I was relieved when my daughter decided to reuse last year's backpack, and since she's not yet old enough to realize that back-to-school often means an entire new wardrobe for other kids, I was able to get off easy with one new "first day" outfit (on clearance, no less), a lunch box, and a new pair of sneakers, making back-to-school shopping relatively painless.

But in these difficult times, some families aren't just having to say no to "wants," they're finding themselves unable to fill the needs of their families as well. Heather Ryan recently shared her own experience in Salon's new regular feature "Pinched," essays about life in a poor economy. Though Heather was employed and working full time, she couldn't cover her monthly expenses and ended up taking her three children to a soup kitchen one summer, because she feared running out of food by the end of the month.

She writes eloquently, and you can feel her pain and her fear as she worries about condemnation from the soup kitchen staff and faces her older daughter's shame and embarrassment. It had to be difficult to take the step, but far more difficult to realize that you were unable to provide in the first place.

How to save money at the grocery store(click thumbnails to view gallery)

Make a listDo the prep work yourselfBring a calculatorGo genericHow low can you go?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.