My name is Christal and I am one of the new summer interns! You will be hearing from me for the next couple months so I thought I should spend a little bit of this first blog introducing myself. I am a senior at Biola University studying Communication Studies. I’m giving you guys a warning…I’m not typically a very funny writer. However, I am passionate about Project 7’s mission statement, which is: “To ensure everyone around the globe has access to fundamental human needs for a healthy life.” Many of us live incredibly privileged lives and do not realize that with just a little bit of effort, we could help our fellow human beings around the world. With that being said, I am going to explore a major issue that many Americans do not spend much time thinking about—poverty in the United States.
When thinking about poverty, the typical image that comes to mind is homeless people crowded under tunnels and bridges in major cities. However, it is a myth that the hungry of America are confined to cities. In fact, the Brookings Institution released a new book, Confronting Suburban Poverty, which tells of the staggering amount of impoverished people in the suburbs. Statistically speaking, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube tell in the book that in America today, there are 16.4 million people in poverty in suburban communities. According to a report released by the Census Bureau last year, 49.7 million Americans live in poverty. To put that into perspective, that is about 16% of our country’s population. These numbers illustrate just how pervasive poverty is. I know it is absolutely overwhelming to think about, but we cannot allow the bigness of the problem to paralyze us and we cannot demand that this epidemic will be fixed quickly. In fact, it is almost a guarantee that the solution will be slow. However, there are steps that can be taken today to aid a person in need.
To begin, realize the worth of those in poverty as a fellow human being. The norm is to walk past the homeless without a second glance. However, this only perpetuates the false notion that those who have not are not worth the same as those who have. Secondly, get to know the impoverished in your community and pinpoint where their needs lie. Offer to donate goods, services, and time to help your neighbors climb out of poverty. For example, if a child from a low-income home is in need of extra help at school, offer to tutor him. Thirdly, support the homeless shelters, the Salvation Army, and other organizations are actively involved in helping those in need.
I know that we have all heard these steps before, but guys, this is important! Poverty is prevalent in our own country—our communities—and it is time to do what we can. And honestly, if all else fails, pick up some “Feed the Hungry” Project 7 gum or mints!