Poverty: It's REAL, It's HERE, and It's BAD!

February 23, 2010
Poverty: It’s REAL, It’s HERE, and It’s BAD!

All of a sudden, you’re standing in the middle of a massive area that could pass for a thousand-car garage. At this point, you put on hats and rubber gloves and go to work for hours, organizing food, weighing food, tossing fifteen-pound cans into giant boxes like they’re weightless… This is Harvesters, Kansas City’s most renowned food pantry. It’s a place is dedicated to feeding 60,000 hungry individuals every single week. Indeed, 14.3% of Kansas Citians are stricken with poverty and hunger according to the census bureau. Kansas City’s poverty problem isn’t getting any smaller and won’t shrink on its own. Luckily, countless donors to Harvesters alleviate the impact. Still, the vast majority of people could stand to do more, and they should do more.

You may wonder, “Why help to end poverty? Why donate money and food to food pantries and other missions? Why even care in the first place?” Poverty will do nothing but grow rapidly, unless we all take action in some way. Not to mention, poverty hits children particularly hard, usually even harder than adults. The outcome is an education and a college experience down the drain if their families cannot afford it. This means that those children will never get a degree and aren’t likely to obtain a good quality job. This results in a low salary, possible unemployment, and this exact cycle beginning again and again and again. According to a campaign called, End Child Poverty, “Child abuse and neglect appear to be more common among poor families.” The gritty, awful environments that some poorer areas create ensure that everyone living in that area is in danger at all times. How can kids enjoy being kids if their own homes are threatening? You’re right. They can’t. The U.S. population is split over reasons why people are poor. On one hand, some believe that poor people do not work hard enough to improve their lives, but on the other hand, people think that a person’s living conditions depend on mere circumstances. The truth is that whatever you believe, children are victims and have no control over their family’s actions.

One of the major causes of homelessness and hunger in our city, as well as the nation, is the recession, (big surprise!) which has caused unemployment rates to go sky high. Kansas City’s unemployment rate was 8.6 in December of 2009, according to Diane Stafford, writing for the Kansas City Star. Also, the City Union Mission, a ministry in Kansas City dedicated to helping the homeless through faith and spirituality, said that many times in 2009, more than half of the people who came to seek help had never been homeless before. For example, a person who once had a good job and a decent house might find themselves without them. This happens to far more people than we realize. While we count and recount our numerous blessings, we can all help those who are short on a few blessings by volunteering, donating, advertising, and more.

Although we all must take action against poverty, countless people already do. Fortunately, innumerable church groups, school groups, and volunteers help at Harvesters at least annually, and I’ve witnessed them myself. I have volunteered there for a many years, and I believe that going to Harvesters and knowing that what you are doing will feed one hundred people is something to be admired. Besides, by giving your time and care, you receive. I’m not saying that they pay you to volunteer, but I am saying that you receive a feeling of self-satisfaction. Sounds worse than being paid? Go to Harvesters, City Union Mission, or any other place to volunteer, and you’ll quickly find out the truth. Ending poverty is a matter that everyone (that means you, too) needs to take part in. As popular as it is, Harvesters is far from being the only food pantry where people take action. Numerous schools in this area have food drives, explaining what the giant barrels in school hallways are there for!
Kansas City, like every place, has its problems, and poverty is one of them, and it is here to stay. Poverty obviously is not an easy problem for anyone to tackle, due to its complexity and mind-boggling range. While ending poverty may seem virtually impossible, people can wipe out the majority of it by taking things one step at a time. Also, by ending poverty, we would bring the Kansas City areas together forever. What we need is for all Kansas City citizens to understand the serious (and growing) problem that poverty is. Indeed, the best way to bring a community together in through love, hope, care, and motivation. As Albert Einstein said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” Stop. Consider. Think about the hundreds of

homeless, poor, hungry people who could use your help. Put yourself in their place and try to understand the devastating pain and hardship. Lastly, after stopping, considering, and thinking, act, motivate, and change Kansas City forever.

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This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Sparky said...
Mar. 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm
This is a GREAT article. I am really happy that you wrote about this topic becuase I think we need to decrease it also. Great work!!!!!!
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