The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

October 21, 2013

Poverty is growing in Ashtabula County

Poverty. Not a pretty topic for a Monday morning but it is growing in our community.

If you look carefully, you will see it everywhere you go in Ashtabula County.

From homeless individuals needing shelter to a growing number of children utilizing school free lunch programs. Poverty is everywhere.

 One of the most comprehensive definitions of poverty comes from the Ashtabula Community Action agency website (www.accaa.org).

Poverty is the deprivation of food, shelter, money and clothing that occurs when people cannot satisfy their basic needs usually resulting when an individual or household lacks sufficient economic resources.

In other words, there is not enough money to provide the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter.

 There are many people who appear to make ends meet but actually are living paycheck to paycheck.

A layoff, accident, sickness, or other financial crisis can be like a domino effect in a family’s life.

One missed paycheck due to unpaid sick leave can bring a family close to being homeless.

For many families, living on the brink of poverty can actually be passed on to the next generation.

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2012 the persons living below the poverty level in Ashtabula County was over 17 percent.

This is from the data that was reported but how many people are living in poverty that the government doesn’t see?

More importantly, how can we as a community make a difference in the lives of those in need?

On Thursday, Nov. 14 the Ashtabula County Family and Children First Council will be sponsoring an informative workshop entitled: Understanding Generational Poverty: How the Culture of Poverty Impacts Individuals, Families and Our Community.

This is an important step in learning about poverty in our community and how we can help families lift themselves out of this devastating cycle.   

 The day will begin with registration at 8 a.m. and the presentation starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Spire Institute.

The participants will hear from Rita Rizzo, County Commissioner Peggy Carlo, and State Senator Capri Cafaro regarding how poverty affects our state and our local community.

If we want to make a difference in our community we have to understand where we are and how we can bring about a change in the lives of those in need.

If you think that the poverty isn’t a problem, then you should know that the percentage of people living in poverty in Ashtabula County at over 17 percent is higher than the State of Ohio which is at 14.8 percent.

It affects your children in school who have friends or classmates who come to school hungry and have trouble focusing on school work.

It also affects employers and employees in the workplace when someone can’t make it to their job because they don’t have enough money for gas. In every area of our community, poverty touches our lives.

People look away from the homeless on the sidewalk or the family using food stamps in the store but looking the other way doesn’t make the situation disappear.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, Be the change you want to see in the world. This is a perfect opportunity to make a difference in our community.

Go to www.acfamilyfirst.org and get all the details on registration for this important day.

We all have the power, small or large to make a difference in Ashtabula County.

Remember, education and prevention make a difference.

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