Just when we begin to believe things are getting better, news breaks today that the poverty rate has suddenly jumped to 14.3% and foreclosures hit an all time high last month. Since the recession started, the number of foreclosures is up 25%.
The poverty ratings are growing fastest in those who are still of working age. As of today, there are nearly 44 million Americans who are living below the poverty level. Wondering how that equates to those who are struggling? Take a look:
- There is not enough money to pay even the utilities. Some families are doing the best they can by paying the most critical of overdue bills first. “Whichever account is closest to being disconnected is the one we pay”, said one woman in Pace, FL. Some families, though they’re living in impoverished circumstances, don’t have to worry about choosing between the electricity bill or the phone bill – they’ve long since lost their homes and sadly, many are living on the streets or in their cars.
- Now that school’s started, many kids are going to school without the supplies they need. Mom and Dad just can’t afford crayons and glue; for many, it’s the first time in their lives they face these difficulties.
- Many who have dinner tonight will do their best to make crackers and a can of chicken noodle soup stretch far enough to feed their children.
- There are many who either didn’t receive a job offer because their phone has been disconnected and those who do receive the long awaited job offer are finding themselves wondering how they can get to a new job since they no longer have an automobile.
- No one is immune. Families who were, just a very short time ago, accustomed to having all they needed are finding themselves sending up prayers that they can keep their families safe for one more day; others are making the hard choices to allow their children to stay with family members while they leave their hometowns in search of jobs that will mean the family will have to relocate.
So what’s the answer? I have no idea. There are no easy solutions to be found, aside from reaching out to help those who really need to know someone’s on their side. If any of us have made it to adulthood and still have no concept of “but for the grace of God”, then something’s wrong. While I can’t tell anyone else what their answers are, I absolutely believe each of us, in some way, can play a role. I think I’ve defined mine – now your turn.