Poverty in the United States • 36 million Americans are poor (US Census 2003) • 35 million Americans are at risk of hunger (USDA 2004) • 13 million children are at risk of hunger (USDA 2004) • The poverty line for a family of four is $18,810 (US Census, 2004) • A full-time worker earning the minimum wage of $5.15 an hour makes $10, 712 a year and $892 per month. 2
Poverty in the United States $18,810: Poverty level for a family of four (US Census 2004) Their average spending: (US Department of Labor 2004) $5,274: Housing $2,350: Utilities $4,852: Transportation $4,815: Food $783: Healthcare $2,030: Childcare (USDA 2004) $20,114: Total The total spending of $20,114 is $1,304 more than the poverty line and $9402 more than a minimum wage worker earns in a year. What’s not included: Clothes, school supplies, presents, entertainment, and more. 3
Poverty is the lack of resources. • Financial • Emotional • Mental • Spiritual • Physical • Support systems • Relationships and role models 4
Poverty Coping Skills • I can function without a bank account or credit card. • I can live without electricity and a phone. • I know what to do when I have no money to pay the bills. • I know how to get and use food stamps. • I know where the free medical clinics are. • I know how to move in a day. • I can get by without a car.
How Operation Frontline builds resources for long-term impact • Providing nutrition information • Teaching and practicing healthy cooking • Teaching and practicing food budgeting • Volunteer chefs and nutritionists • Communal classes • Classes in the community
Relating to people who are living in poverty • Be aware of the significant challenge low-income people face in trying to feed their families enough food, let alone nutritious food. • Be sensitive to what is realistic and achievable for low-income families. • Make healthy eating relevant to today; keeping in mind that people who live in poverty are more sensitive to today and the future. • Recognize your own frame of reference – don’t make assumptions based on what you’ve always thought people should know or do.
Resources and Sources • A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne • Written for teachers – an excellent guide on relating to poverty • Poverty USA from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development • www.povertyusa.org