by Amanda Eacher ‘16
Why would anyone choose to be poor? Who needs a fulfilling life when the government will voluntarily pay someone a few hundred dollars a month for nothing?
The middle class is disappearing, many of them ending up in poverty, and yet nothing has been done to stop neither the growth nor the stigma against impoverished people. The United States has shown effort in preventing poverty through various government programs, but are the current programs enough?
The 2014 Census revealed that 45 million people are living in poverty in the United states. Of these 45 million, the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) estimates there are over 16 million children living in poverty.
An alarming 14.5% of Americans live in poverty, while they are in the minority 14.5% of 319 million people is a large group to be living in such poor conditions.
Believe it or not, without government programs like food stamps, social security, and tax credits the percentage of Americans living in poverty would increase significantly.
There has and most likely always will be a stigma against the less fortunate. Many people believe that one who lives in poverty does so on purpose as to collect money from the government. What people do not realize is how little money people receive and how unsustainable a life living solely on these programs would be.
Communities need to come together and spread awareness of the possible poverty in their neighborhoods. We need to work to remove the stigma, it should not be seen as shameful to admit that one is going through hard times and that they need help.
There are a few community run programs which have proven to be beneficial to people living in poverty. One example of a community run group would be community run food banks. One non-profit food bank is Philabundance. Philabundance is a food bank run in Philadelphia and in 2014 they distributed 30 million pounds of food. Their doors are open to the 750,000 hungry people in the Delaware Valley.
A possible solution to the large percent of Americans who are living in poverty would be to create more efficient programs in hopes of preventing more from falling into poverty the upcoming years.
It seems we could all do more to help the poor in our country.