Wealth and Poverty

It’s the time of year for helping others --  donating to toy drives or food pantries. But, as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, this holiday season might be a good time to re-think what we mean, when we say charity.

Walk around Virginia’s capital city, and you will see people begging on street corners, or sleeping on park benches. And this time of year, says Kelly King Horne, people hone in on it. Horne is in charge of Homeward, Richmond’s planning office for homeless services.

Hunger Hotline

Jun 8, 2015

One in ten Virginians lives in households that can’t always afford enough food. However, there is a toll-free hunger hotline funded by the department of agriculture that connects callers in need with self-sufficiency services in their area, like food pantries and soup kitchens. Marianne Vargas is with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore.

Virginia food banks distributed 142 million pounds of food to 1.2  million people last year.

This week’s rain was good news for farmers and gardeners, but at the University of Mary Washington, it was a bit - upsetting.  More than 80 students are living outside this week - in cardboard boxes and makeshift tents - learning how it might feel to be poor. 

“We may need another tarp  but we also need twine, and we need something to prop the middle of the tarp up.” 

Anti-Hunger Initiative in High-Poverty Schools

Mar 9, 2015

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack joined Virginia’s governor and first lady to announce an $8.8 million federal grant for an anti-hunger initiative in some of the state’s high-poverty schools.

The demonstration project will provide students in selected schools with breakfast, lunch, and after-school supper—as well as non-perishable food to take home on weekends and breaks.

Piedmont Court Appointed Special Advocates

Sixteen percent of children in Virginia live in poverty, and one in four families is considered working poor.  They’re in contact with teachers and principals, social workers and psychologists, and in some cases, police and judges, but those professionals may not understand what it means to be poor.

Families with two kids who earn less than $24,000 a year fall below the poverty line, and with that comes some unique challenges.  Alicia Lenahan is president of Piedmont CASA, a group that advocates for abused and neglected children in court.

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