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September 15, 2011

Numbers Don’t Lie

by PBUnitedWay

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 2.6 million people fell into poverty last year. The total number of Americans currently living below the official federal poverty line reached 46.2 million – the highest the bureau has reported in 52 years (when they first began reporting on poverty).  The state of Florida has the nation’s third-highest rate of residents without health insurance. Currently, in Palm Beach County, 11.5% live below the federal poverty line and about 20% of the population doesn’t have health insurance.

Unfortunately, according to many economists, this year’s not looking much better. Stimulus money will be gone soon. State and local governments are making major staff and budget cuts, especially to programs that assist families in need of assistance.

What we know: The poverty level is up, the number of people with health insurance is down, and the funding needed to assist the most fragile of families is running out or non-existent.  While some in our community have been slightly burdened by our current economic state, many are struggling to make ends meet and are facing frightening circumstances.

It is more important than ever for us to step up for those struggling in our community. Maybe you can avoid eye contact with the homeless woman you see every day during your commute. Maybe you can avoid volunteering at your local soup kitchen or food pantry. But you can’t avoid the numbers; you can’t avoid that poverty has hit a 52-year high and that millions nationwide are without health insurance. The numbers are alarming and the effects are tremendous.

What we can do: Lend a hand, become a mentor, serve a meal, start a food drive, make a donation…. the list of ways we can make an impact is endless. We just have to make an effort. Every little bit helps and our community will reap the benefit. Call us at 561.655.1919 or email info@palmbeachunitedway.org if you want to help.

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