"I think it's going to get worse," said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend, but it doesn't generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks."
This excerpt is from a recent article in USA TODAY titled 4 in 5 face near-poverty, no work in USA.
I have been to Buchanan County for the Mobile Food Pantry visit that myself and the two Hunger in America 2014 study interns made in late June. We saw first hand and heard from those in the community the struggles that this area is going through. It was eye-opening and I am so glad that I was able to see and experience this area, as the article describes, "Buchanan County, in southwest Virginia, is among the nation's most destitute based on median income, with poverty hovering at 24%. The county is mostly white, as are 99% of its poor." Seeing this area helped me to better understand the face of poverty in this nation. It is a complex and very large problem that will not be solved overnight.
As Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis put it, "Poverty is no longer a issue of 'them' it's an issue of 'us'. Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need."
I am hopeful that we will find solutions for the many aspects of poverty that affect our nation and I know that I am going to work hard to be a part of this solution and create ideas for positive change. The link to the USA TODAY article is below, I highly encourage you to read it, it provides an invaluable light on the face of poverty in our nation.
There are also plenty of ways you can help at Feeding America Southwest Virginia or at your local food bank through volunteering, making a donation, or spreading awareness of poverty and food insecurity issues.