Friday, February 25, 2011


So sorry about the long time between blogs been kind of busy working (and when I do have down time, I'm too tired to write).  As I have stated before I am changing the direction of the blog.  The focus of this blog is poverty and how I am helping to fight this issue.  But before we get into fighting poverty, I think it is good to discuss “What is poverty?”  First, lets paint a picture.
When most people think of poverty they think of third world countries where resources are scarce.  These countries where children have bloated bellies or children have ribs that can be seen clearly through their chest.  We have all heard of undeveloped countries where children cannot afford to go to school because instead they have to work to still bring home next to nothing for their families.  When we are up late at night, we see the commercials asking us to send $20 a month to help a family that has to walk miles to get somewhat clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.  This picture might make poverty seem like it's in a far away land.
Then there is the picture that portrays the reality of poverty: it is not far away but it is right here in the U.S.A.  Believe it or not, there are third world-ish countries in our backyards. Yes, right here in the “Land of Opportunity” there are people who go hungry most nights of the week, live in houses without indoor plumbing, and because of a lack of education will only be able to get low-wage paying jobs that will only keep their heads barely above water.  In undergrad, I remember watching a video on just how bad poverty is in the U.S. (if I can find I will post it).  In the video there was a man hunting “swamp rats” in his backyard just so his kids could have protein with their meals.  It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about him having to do this in one of the richest countries of the world. 
So after reading the past two paragraphs, one might define poverty as lacking necessities as in money, food, livable shelter, and other material things.  Some might say that it is deeper than that.  While attending training in Philadelphia, PA for AmeriCorp VISTA, we learned that poverty could be mental, emotional,  or lack of role models.  I guess one can have a lot of money but if they do not have common sense they could be considered in mental poverty.  According to this definition, you could have money, mentally and emotionally stable, but if you are lacking those in your life to help you make good decisions it could be seen as that you are living in a poverty. 
Now this is where poverty gets confusing.  I have heard someone say "I was an adult before I realized that I had lived my life in poverty."  So how is this possible?  It could mean that their families did not put a lot of emphasis into material things.  Instead this particular family could have put emphasis on spirituality, values, morals, or in some cases education (public libraries offer numerous classes for free to anyone that wants to takes them.), things you can obtain without a large amount of money.  In that case, poverty can be define as a state of mind: if you think you are in poverty, then you are.
After really thinking about it, there is really no exact way to define poverty but there is something that holds true: No one should have to go hungry where there are resources available for them to eat.  These resources could be going to food pantries, government programs that provide access to food (i.e. food stamps), or we as a community can start looking out for one another (this could mean starting a community garden).  However you define poverty, know that it does not exist in some far away land that you can detached yourself from but it is in your community. 

No comments:

Post a Comment