Poverty is a problem that exists for many different reasons than the other issues focused on during awareness events. Poverty is not a disease, nor is it a biological condition. In fact, for the most part the problem of poverty has already been solved. However, since it does not create imminent death (like AIDS or pancreatic cancer might), and there are mixed feelings about how the problem should be handled, poverty continues to burden more Americans than you might be aware of. So, to implement a solution to poverty in America once and for all, the best thing you can do is raise awareness.January is Poverty in America Awareness Month, and that means it is almost time to start educating people about the nature of the problem that exists, and what they can do to help. To give you a head start, let’s examine a few facts about poverty in America. These facts are not posted to create a bleak picture about the condition of American poverty, but rather to create a sense of urgency in the matter which will inspire people to give poverty the same fight that they would give to any other awareness event. To understand the facts, it is important to note how the United States government defines the poverty line. For a family of four, a combined income of less than $22,050 a year is considered below the poverty line:
- Poverty is getting worse in America. In 2009, the official poverty rate was 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008.
- From 2000-2008, the number of Americans in poverty grew by more than 9 million
- Americans living with incomes below half the poverty line has risen to over 17 million
Taking this striking data into consideration, the logical question to ask is – what can I do to make a difference? Well, the first step in the process towards ending poverty is educating as many people as possible about the facts listed above. This will open their eyes to the realization that there are many more people in their own country struggling than they realize. You can choose to focus on eradicating poverty specifically on your state, or concentrate more broadly on the entire country. You can hold meetings in schools and in community centers where people in your town will come to learn about the root causes of poverty and how to prevent them.Once you have raised enough awareness about poverty and gotten enough people on board for the cause, then it is time to act. Taking action against poverty can be anything from creating a fundraiser to continuing to raise awareness across the country. You might want to calculate your monthly expenses, and then donate a portion of your leftover savings to helping those in need. If you can encourage the people around you to do the same, you will be able to get people out of the vicious cycle of poverty and give them a better shot at a decent life.
Contacting authority and media sources is another way to take action. Simply put, it is extremely difficult to raise awareness about poverty the “grassroots” way when compared to how much attention you could receive from being on the 6 o’clock news. Try contacting your local television station and see if they would pick up a story about Poverty in America Awareness Month, and what you are doing to address the problem. Writing letters to your representative in Congress will also have a ripple effect. If enough people write a letter to the same person, it has the effect of a formal petition in which that congressman realizes that he had better act or risk losing his office in the next term.