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July 4, 2016

FOURTH OF JULY: CELEBRATING FREEDOM

by PBUnitedWay

The Fourth has always been my favorite holiday. Fireworks thunder the skies and grills fill backyards’ air with the sweet smell of cheeseburgers and hot dogs.

Every Fourth of July we celebrate our freedom. Yet, there are many people around the country – and right here in Palm Beach County – who struggle every day for their freedom. Financial independence and stability are among the most basic and essential needs of a strong family. Unfortunately, these needs are becoming increasingly difficult for the poor in Palm Beach County to meet.

The cost of living in Palm Beach County has risen at a far greater rate than the minimum wage. In fact, minimum wage in Palm Beach County falls below poverty wage for most families.

Minimum wage in Palm Beach County is $8.05 per hour. According to the Poverty in America (run out of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning), poverty wage in Palm Beach County for a household with 2 adults and 2 children is $11.00, meaning minimum wage falls $2.95 short of poverty wage. Living wage for a family of the same size is $25.30, or over triple the amount of minimum wage. This means that an individual working 3 full-time minimum wage jobs would just barely make living wage. This is troubling, particularly because living wage calculates a minimum estimate of the cost of living for low-wage families.

When we celebrate our freedom this Fourth of July, we must remember those in our community who lack the resources to truly be free. Join the Town of Palm Beach United Way in advocating for a living wage and funding programs that enable families to meet life’s basic needs and reach their full potential.

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