Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Citizen to Citizen.

With unemployment predicted to reach 8% by year's end, and food prices continuing to escalate, increasing numbers of Americans who normally donate to food pantries and volunteer at Soup kitchens are finding themselves on the receiving end of such programs. The number of Americans using food stamps is expected to surpass "the historic high set in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina".

Food pantries and other charitable organizations are reporting that supply is falling short of demand. It is also likely that the value of food stamps may not keep up with rising prices, as this benefit is only adjusted for inflation annually. However, citizen-centered philanthropy can make a world of difference, filling in where government programs fail to meet the needs of citizens who have fallen on bad times.

For instance, take Pam Koner, a mother of two in West Chester, NY, who, moved by an article in the New York Times, "In Trenches of a War on Unyielding Poverty", she gathered local families, in her neighborhood together and encouraged each of them to “adopt” one of the families - who live at an income level that is half the state average - in Pembroke IL, the rural community the article focused. What started out with 15 suburban families linked to 15 families living in impoverished conditions became Family-to-Family and grew to 700 families. All together Family-to-Family supports thirteen needy communities located in ten states.


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