How can Society Best Address Poverty?
Category : Blog
October 15, 2015
By Earline Marshall, Jericho Road Dallas Volunteer, and President and CEO, Marshall Management Group
We have all seen the TV commercials depicting the children in underdeveloped countries drinking dirty water or looking hungry and very sick. We see these images and think this is poverty – and yes, it is, but there are other images of poverty. Poverty is the family who survives paycheck to paycheck, and is one financial setback or medical emergency away from financial ruin, or the children who go to bed hungry, or the senior citizen who has to decide whether to buy medication or food. That is poverty, and it is in our backyards.
I don’t have to quote statistics. We know food prices are rising and wages have been flat for years. We are slowly coming out of the 2008 recession, but for many the economy is not any better. Some people have been unemployed for so long they have stopped looking for a job. There are single parent households making ends meet on less than $25,000 a year. If you make more than the federal poverty level of $23,550 you are not eligible for any type of federal assistance.
The world can seem mean and cold when you are working hard and barely making enough to support your family, or you are a young adult and unable to get that first job to help you while you go to school. We need to call attention to the needs of these people who are the working poor. They work every day and count every penny, praying that nothing happens because they cannot afford anything extra.
Poverty affects adults and children. It is stated that long-term poverty is detrimental to the social development and mental health of children according to the National Center for Children in Poverty. That is why food banks, church programs and non-profit organizations are so important. Some of these organizations provide hot meals, clothes, free medical care, affordable childcare and rent and utility assistance. The problem is the need is so great and some areas do not have organizations that provide these services.
Let’s Be a Helping Hand
As the holidays are fast approaching, let us all remember those in need and give to our local food banks and organizations who help those struggling to get by. A little goes a long way. You can help by providing socks, blankets, lightly-worn clothes for children or a bag of groceries for a local food bank. We cannot wait on government changes. We can act now with one donation of anything you have that can help someone. The person you help could be your relative who you did not know was going through a difficult time, or it could be your neighbor, your co-worker, or a perfect stranger. People in need often struggle in silence. Please keep in mind that their struggle does not end at the holidays—it continues year-round, but we have to start somewhere. Please be a helping hand. To learn more about how you can help in your community, visit Jericho Road Dallas and get involved in an organization in your area.