Poverty Awareness Month
Poverty Awareness Month is observed annually during the month of January. Did you know that, according to 2022 data gathered by the US Census, there are more than 37.9 million Americans living in poverty? That equates to 11.5% of the US population. Poverty can be caused by a number of factors, such as limited access to education, disabilities, social discrimination, and more. Poverty is a serious issue, not only in America, but worldwide. Poverty Awareness Month exists so we can continue to educate ourselves on the matter, spread awareness, and learn how we can help limit the prevalence of poverty in our society.
The history behind Poverty Awareness Month
Poverty is not a new issue. Rather, it has existed in some form for centuries. Poverty Awareness Month became formally recognized by Congress in 2009 when poverty in America was rising rapidly. Between 2008 and 2009, the poverty rate in the US was at 14.3%. But poverty only began being assessed in the United States in the early 1960s, thanks to thresholds developed by Mollie Orshansky, who was a staff economist at the Social Security Administration. Orshansky based these thresholds off the “economy food plan,” which was the cheapest of four food plans developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). As of today, this method of measurement is still used by the US government.
How can you help?
As one individual, it can be overwhelming trying to find ways you can make an impact in the fight against poverty. However, there are a number of opportunities for you to help out in your community:
- Volunteer at food banks.
- Donate or volunteer at local non-profits/charities.
- Spread awareness to friends and family.
These are just a few ways you can help out in your community. These actions alone won’t end poverty, unfortunately, but one small action could go a long way for someone in your community who’s in need.
Giving back to our Communities
As a credit union, we function to serve our Members, Team Members, and the communities they work, live, and play in. The credit union philosophy of “People Helping People” is something we strive to live out at Centra each and every day we come to work. Each year, Centra donates hundreds of thousands of dollars that go directly to non-profit organizations in each Community we serve. These dollars have helped organizations provide shelter, food, clothing, and other invaluable services to local community members in need. These donations are part of our efforts to support and create value for the Communities we serve.