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More NC children living in poverty than in 2008

 

center for hopeThe number of children in North Carolina living in poverty has increased by 25 percent since 2008, according to a report to be released Tuesday, even as the nation recovered from the recession.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation report, which studies factors related to children’s well-being, noted several worsening financial conditions in the state since the recession, but also saw improvements in healthcare and education. The foundation is a private philanthropy that makes grants to nonprofits to respond to issues that negatively affect children.

About 566,000 children, or one in four in the state, live in poverty, according to the report. Two other measures of financial stability – children whose parents lack secure employment and teens who are not in school and not working – also worsened since 2008.

North Carolina ranked 35th overall in the report for child well-being. The state tied with Texas and Kentucky for the 11th highest child poverty rate in the country. The federal poverty level for a family of four is $24,250.

Laila Bell, the director of research and data for the non-profit NC Child, said that the recession was a trigger for some of the changes, but state legislation contributed to the problems.

As an example, she cited the state allowing the earned income tax credit to expire in 2014. Republican lawmakers at the time said eliminating the tax credit, along with other changes, was meant to simplify the system and to spread the tax burden equally.

Bell said the challenges are even larger than the report indicates because it takes the income of twice the federal poverty level to adequately provide for children.

Measuring by that standard, about half the children in North Carolina live in poverty, or more than a million children, Bell said. Children of color are twice as likely to live in poverty, she said.

Nola Davis, 37, is staying in the Salvation Army’s Center of Hope shelter near uptown with her three children, ages 2, 3 and almost 11. She said her family moved there in October after losing its home and living in a hotel for about a year.

Davis recently found a job with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and her children’s father works at the airport.

She said she has continually been rejected by landlords for housing despite being able to pay the rent.

“Once they find out you’re here, it’s such a stigma coming from a homeless shelter that nobody wants to rent to you,” she said. Davis and her family recently found a landlord willing to rent to them, and they hope to move in next month.

‘A heavy burden’

Poverty impacts many areas in a child’s life, Bell said. Children in poor households have less access to fresh foods, high-quality schools and green space. Over time, these children may be less prepared for school, impacting their education.

“Coming to school with that on your shoulders is a heavy burden,” said Susan Hansell, executive director of A Child’s Place.

Children living in poverty also spend less time in school because they normally have to use school buses to get home, she said. “They’re not able to take advantage of after-school programs,” she said.

Homeless children can also experience a higher degree of anxiety and depression, Hansell said.

Though poverty affects children at any age, those in early stages of development are particularly susceptible, Bell said.

Davis said her oldest daughter can’t understand all of the circumstances that led to living at the shelter.

“How do you explain that to a child?” she said.

Bell said North Carolina lawmakers could improve conditions for kids in the state by supporting the health of mothers before and during their pregnancies. Better healthcare, possibly through expanded access to insurance for low-income women, can help prevent low birth weight babies.

The state government could also invest more in early childhood education, a key to children’s development and future success in school, Bell said.

Charlotte has a network of support groups and non-profits that can help children and families in poverty, Hansell said. A Child’s Place advocates for homeless children and their families, helping them find healthcare and educational support.

Not all the factors in the Kids Count report worsened. All health measures improved, and three out of four education measures improved. About 94 percent of the state’s children are insured, more than at any point in the state’s history, Bell said.

In education, the report found more fourth-graders are proficient in reading, more eighth-graders are proficient in math and more high school students are graduating on time.

 

liz murray

Harvard graduate born into poverty and homeless as a teen shares her story

liz murrayWhen Liz Murray overcame homelessness to graduate from Harvard University, people called her a bootstrapper and lauded her hard work.

But hard work doesn’t tell the whole story, said Murray, the featured speaker at today’s D.J.’s Hero Awards luncheon sponsored by the Salvation Army.

There has to be a bridge — someone or something offering help and encouragement, she said. That could be a committed social worker, a friendly stranger, a scholarship fund.

“When you have that, an introduction to a person who can help you, it’s a bridge that turns hard work into opportunity,” she said.

In an interview Monday, Murray said it’s up to the community to be that bridge: “Nobody is off the hook.”

She said today’s Salvation Army event is part of the solution. Eight high school seniors each will receive a $10,000 scholarship at the luncheon. The awards are named after D.J. Sokol, the son of David and Peggy Sokol, who contributed to his school and community despite battling cancer. He died in 1999 at age 18.

Murray said she had lots of help and inspiration along her path. She went from being a homeless teen who missed school 75 percent of the time to making up lost courses in two years and winning a New York Times scholarship to the Ivy League school.

She was born in grinding poverty to drug-addicted parents, but she never was angry at them. Instead, she viewed the addiction as a terrible thing that happened to the family, which included a sister.

“I had an instinct for the fact that they were sick,” she said. “People can’t give what they don’t have.”

Despite that, they gave her plenty. She was grateful she grew up with two parents who showed her an abundance of love. With regular trips to the public library, her dad — who had two college degrees — planted the idea that education was a way out. Her mom taught her to dream when she shared her own dreams with her daughter at night.

In a roundabout way, they taught her to be independent. “I never expected people to do things, because no one did,” Murray said.

At age 13 she ended up in a difficult group home when her mom was hospitalized with end-stage AIDS. Dad was in a homeless shelter, and her sister lived with friends. By 15, she was homeless herself.

Her mom’s dreams of becoming sober and owning a home died when AIDS claimed her life. Murray took that as a signal that she should get serious about school to preserve her own dreams. She graduated from the Humanities Preparatory Academy in Manhattan despite a still-precarious living situation.

Strangers who read her story in the Times showed up to help: bringing brownies, cards, a homemade quilt. One woman drove from New Jersey each week to do her laundry.

Now, she said, she tries to do the same for teens in similar situations. She works with youths from Covenant House, the largest organization for homeless teens in the country. She looks for ways to introduce them to people who want to help with jobs, internships and other aid.

“I love to see people’s dreams come true,” she said.

She turned that coaching into a full-time business, but recently stepped back to have a family and pursue a doctorate in psychology from Columbia University.

She’ll share her story with the 1,100 people expected for today’s luncheon at the CenturyLink Center. She finds inspiration in the stories of each winner in the award’s 15-year history. They all have much to contribute, she said.

It’s up to everyone to help more young people figure that out, she said.

“One thing I hear people say constantly, when they’re talking about the ills of the world, is that someone needs to do something — ‘they’ need to do something. I ask: Do you realize there’s no ‘they?’ ”

coats-for-kids111

Dillard’s Stores and The Salvation Army Drive to Do Good

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It’s no secret that it has become unseasonably cold for many parts of The United States. And with the temperatures continuing to drop, it’s time to bundle up.

This year, as you transition to your warmer wardrobe, consider freeing up some space in those cluttered closets and drawers by donating any jackets and coats you no longer wear to help support families who cannot afford proper winter attire.
Thanks to the generosity of Dillard’s Department Stores, The Salvation Army is helping to fill this need. This Saturday, November 22, select Dillard’s locations will host a one-day coat drive benefiting The Salvation Amy- and they need your help.

Visit one of the 86 participating stores this weekend and bring in any gently used coats and receive a token of appreciation from Dillard’s.
Just by clearing out your closet, you can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

If there is not a Dillard’s in your area, you can always donate gently used or new coats to your local Salvation Army Family Store. Just visit www.satruck.org and find the closet location near you.
A special thank you to Dillard’s for their generosity and support of The Salvation Army’s mission to Do The Most Good!
Dillard’s,The Salvation Amy, coat drive

kids

Help fight food insecurity

food insecurity

Last week, schools across the country were once again filled with eager students- both fresh and familiar faces. It’s a bittersweet time for children as they say hello to old friends and goodbye to the freedom of summer and back to daily classroom and study routines. For most families, it’s a relief to know their kids are guaranteed at least one meal a day.

Nutrition is key for a child’s education. Students who live in food insecure households are at an a disadvantage both academically and physically compared to their food secured peers. This is true for everyone but is especially crucial for children and their development.

According to Feeding America, in 2012, 49.0 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children.

The Salvation Army recognizes the severity of this issue and works to fights food insecurity and help families meet this basic need, and support healthy children in the classroom. One example of how we do this is our food pantries- which provide groceries for individuals and families in need and are essential to battling food insecurity.

But we need your help to fill our food banks!

If you’d like to donate a bag of nonperishable foods to your local Salvation Army food pantry, check out our main website for a list of locations near you:  www.SalvationArmyUSA.org.

Can’t get to the store? For monetary donations and other ways to give, visit: www.donate.salvationarmyusa.org.

Learn more about The Salvation Army here.
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Former homeless teen recieves free car for being a “Spark of Hope”

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Brittnie Pemberton was just nine years old when she and her mother were homeless and living at The Salvation Army’s Door of Hope. Her father, sought help for substance abuse through The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Program (ARC). Throughout this trying time, this young lady never lost hope that her dreams would come true.
And on Tuesday afternoon, one did.

While living at the shelter, Brittnie participated in a project called “Pictures of Hope,” where she was asked to take pictures of her hopes and dreams, one of which included a snap shot of San Diego State University. That dream became a reality a few years ago when a donor endowed a four year scholarship for Brittnie. Also included in this list was a wish to one day get a car.
Brittnie, now 16, was shocked when Chevrolet surprised the teen by unveiling a brand new car.

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark was given to Brittnie for being a “Spark of Hope” for America’s youth. She is an incredible example of hard work and great compassion as she splits her time between school and volunteering at the homeless shelter where she mentors children who are currently going through the same thing she did. Her proud parents are back on their feet and are serving as cadets in The Salvation Army.

At the presentation this week, she was led to believe she was there to be interviewed about her family’s past and their experience living in The Salvation Army’s homeless shelter. She had no idea what was in store for her.

see more here

Posted by Jackie on Friday, September 27, 2013 ·

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You Can Help The Salvation Army battle Food Insecurity

food insecurity

Social media was abuzz yesterday with posts about the first day of school; excited parents posting pictures of their kids standing ready for the bus, and students expressing excitement or dread about the start of a new academic year. But one topic you likely won’t hear your friends talking about on social media is food insecurity, a rising concern for families struggling in the Great Recession, as well as schools.

In 2011, according to Feeding America, 50.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children.

And the numbers are rising. Between 2007 – 2011, the percentage of U.S. households with food-insecure children increased from 8.3 to 10 percent, according to a report from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

Feeding America also tells us that children from food insecure households– where parents struggle to meet basic food needs –  are at a disadvantage in their academic development compared to other students, which ultimately makes it difficult for them to achieve the same level of development as their fellow food secure peers.

But here’s the good news: The Salvation Army is dedicated to helping families meet this basic need, and supporting healthy children in the classroom. One way we do this is through your donations to our food pantries, which provide groceries for individuals and families in need and are essential to battling food insecurity.

I’ve noted several news stories as of late about Salvation Army branches seeking food donations from their communities. At many locations, the pantry supply is running critically low, likely due to the time of year; people are enjoying the end of summer and gearing up for the busy months ahead rather than donating.

The Salvation Army Food Pantry in Panama City is just one example where food is in short supply. This location feeds up to 15 families daily through donations. If you live in Panama City, click here to learn how you can donate today. Your support is needed to ensure that our shelves are stocked so we can meet those needs.

To donate nonperishable foods to your local Salvation Army food pantry, check out our main website for a list of locations near you:  www.SalvationArmyUSA.org. Or, click here for other ways to show your support. In 2011 alone, we served almost 60 million meals to individuals and families in need.

Transitional Living Program Equips Employed, Homeless Men With Tools for Self-Sufficiency

Unveiling the new Men’s Transitional Housing Center in Hickory, NC on July 12, which will serve 11 employed but homeless men in need. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Salvation-Army-of-Hickory/193314167414214 There can be so many reasons for becoming homeless, especially during these tough economic times. Whether you’ve been evicted, deal with substance abuse, face a domestic break-up or any other type of crisis, The Salvation Army is there to lend a helping hand.

The Salvation Army’s Transitional Housing Program is designed for homeless and low-income families and individuals who need help regaining their independence by the power of healing and learning the life skills they need to be successful.  Housing is provided on a temporary basis for varying amounts of time to help individuals get back on their feet.

In addition to food and shelter, most centers provide a variety of educational, health care, counseling, and vocational services to homeless and destitute individuals and families. All programs vary depending on the needs of the community.

One example of this program is our new transitional housing facility that recently opened in Hickory, N.C. This building will provide shelter and services for 11 men for up to two years, who are employed, yet homeless. This particular program is designed to fight the cycle of homelessness by providing these men with the necessary tools they need in order to become self –sufficient through shelter, education and spiritual healing. Skills classes include topics such as budget counseling, substance abuse education, job training, and GED courses. The ultimate goal is for each man to leave the center with enough money for a deposit a permanent residence or a financial cushion.

Each year, The Salvation Army provides more than 10 million nights of shelter to those in need thanks to our generous supporters. We are always seeking volunteers to share life experience skills and mentor clients. To lend your skills to The Salvation Army, click here or visit www.volunteermatch.org for a list of Salvation Army opportunities in your area.

Salvation Army programs vary with local needs. For information on specific programs and locations, contact your local Salvation Army Corps Community Center by doing a zip code search in our website’s Location field.

As We Grow

In 2012, The Salvation Army and the Tallahassee Sustainability Group of Tallahassee, Florida joined forces to create a community garden in an effort to fight poverty and hunger. Their vision is to help families in need to grow their own food, help provide The Salvation Army with fresh produce for the food pantry boxes and to help families learn new skills to gain self-sufficiency. The garden was originally located in a little corner of land behind a local Salvation Army Family Stores and has since expanded to create more opportunity for the public to get involved. The Tallahassee Sustainability Group has become a tremendous partner in The Salvation Army’s fight against hunger and has taken strides in educating the public about food and agriculture, increasing accessibility to fresh, healthy, food, and strengthening communities by means of urban farming. This wonderful program is in the process of expanding to other locations. Please enjoy this incredible video, “As We Grow”, produced by the Florida State University Media Department.To learn more about The Salvation Army visit: www.salvationarmyusa.orgFiled under Doing The Most Good · Tagged with FSU, hunger, poverty, Tallahassee, The Salvation Army