It’s That Time of Year…

Poverty

Spirit Grass, 13, is part of a family of six in Thunder Butte, S.D., who until recently survived on $3,500 a year. Joakim Eskildsen for TIME

The holidays are a time of year when our thoughts turn to people who are struggling in our communities.  It’s a time of year when we are not only thinking of the needs of our friends and neighbors, but also of the reasons behind their difficulties, and hoping for a year ahead with new possibilities and opportunities for family success.

It’s the right time to share this article from TIME Magazine, “Below the Line.”  Author Barbara Kiviat outlines several myths and facts about struggling Americans. Among them:
  1. Myth: “Poverty is simply about not having enough income”
    Fact:  Poverty is about not being able to get things done, whether it is getting a car fixed or finding transportation to a medical appointment
  2. Myth: “The poor are all the same”
    Fact: There is no single “type” of poor person, they are young and old, urban and suburban, working and disabled
  3. Myth: “Focusing on individuals is key to poverty alleviation”
    Fact: Some of the highest poverty pockets of the country are in places who have lost manufacturing jobs, discounting macroeconomic forces is not logical
  4. Myth: “Poverty is inevitable”
    Fact:  Social Security has successfully and dramatically decreased poverty, other policies can be effective as well

As you read the articles this season, and make efforts to donate to a food drive, give a gift to a child, or do your part in some other way, remember that economic struggle is complicated and multifaceted, remember the facts not the myths, and remember that all efforts, including yours and ours at Nebraska Appleseed, really do matter.

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