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October 31, 2013

Poverty More Frightening Than Vampires, Ghouls, Goblins and Ghosts

by PBUnitedWay

Boo!  

from the Town of Palm Beach United Way.  Our wish for you this Halloween is that vampires, ghouls, goblins, and ghosts are the scariest monsters you’ll see today.  Unfortunately, for many children right here in Palm Beach County, life can be pretty scary all year round.

In Palm Beach County, approximately 20.3% of all children live in poverty (or below the federally defined poverty threshold) and 42% live in a low-income household (or 200% of the poverty threshold).  And since 2007 the Census Bureau reports approximately 64,000 more children were living in poverty in Palm Beach County – a 61% increase. 

According to most sustainability calculations, it takes an income higher than 200% of poverty just to provide for a family’s basic needs, which include food, shelter, utilities and transportation. Those are a lot of numbers, so let’s put it into perspective: Stop by a local park and take a look at the kids on the swings. More than 1 in 3 aren’t getting their basic material needs met. If it’s in Riviera Beach, almost 3 in 4 children live in a household struggling or failing to meet basic needs.

What does poverty mean for children? It means they are less likely to succeed in school, they are more likely to suffer from health problems and they are more likely to end up in jail. And what does it mean for our community and our country? It means a less skilled, less competitive workforce; higher health care costs; and higher correctional costs.

This is not “other” people’s problem. This is not happening in “other” places. It may surprise many, but within the last few years, Palm Beach County residents already living in poverty saw a decrease in income, according to census data. Some people are fortunate in that they are well out of danger of ever falling into the safety net, but no one is immune to its consequences. The effects of childhood poverty will affect your neighborhood, your health and your quality of life. 

Boo … are you scared yet?

Find out how you too can help those living in fear throughout our community – call 561.655.1919 or visit www.palmbeachunitedway.org.

Since 1945, the Town of Palm Beach United Way has invested more than $60 million into Palm Beach County because of generous donors like you. Although some of the needs since 1945 have changed, the Town of Palm Beach United Way is still helping people who struggle with hunger, homelessness, job loss, abuse, mental illness, and more.  To find out more about the Town of Palm Beach United Way visit www.palmbeachunitedway.org.   On behalf of the community that we serve, THANK YOU for the difference you make. 

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