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It’s time we rallied around single parents

Sunday evening, my wife Stephanie loaded up our car to take daughter Sarah Cameron and one of her friends to a softball camp at Mississippi State University. They will not return home until Thursday.

So, since Sunday, and until she thankfully walks through the door Thursday evening, it is officially “daddy camp” for the boys and me.

As we check off the days, my goals for each day as follows: feed them, clothe them, maybe bathe them, get them to preschool and basically, keep them alive.

So far, so good.

I try often to tell and show Stephanie how much she means to our family. Not just to me, but to the raising of our children and the quality of life at our home.

For just these few days, I am a single parent and one with those simple goals above.

But for single parents who hold that title for far longer than I, the goals are not as simple. Rather than just trying to keep two boys under the age of 6 fed and alive, they are striving to provide for their children with just their income. They are trying to provide for their education, support their extracurricular activities, their spiritual needs and do all of this while meeting their work obligations.

For many single parents, they do not have other family members to watch after sick children or provide some of the family structure needed to make life easier.

Churches and non-profit organizations do what they can, but the challenges single parents face are things many of us could never understand or appreciate.

In Warren County, the number of children being raised in single-family households is above the state average, which in itself is above the national average.

A University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute study showed 47 percent of children raised in Warren County between 2011 and 2015 were raised in a single-parent household.

That is a lot of children, a lot of homes.

Just south of Warren County, in Claiborne County, the percentage was even higher. Over that same time period, 73 percent of children were raised in a single-parent home.

The economic challenges facing single parents are tremendous, and these statistics confirm the need in our area is also tremendous.

With so many children in our area growing up with just one parent, it is time our community rallied around them, rallied around their parents. It is important we support these children spiritually and do for them what we can to make sure they are given the best possible foundation.

My days as a single parent are numbered, and while I have enjoyed the time with just the boys, I am looking forward to getting my family all back together under one roof. But, I have realized far too many families are not as fortunate. 

Tim Reeves is publisher of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at tim.reeves@vicksburgpost.com.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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