Executive Director E-News: 12.4.15- Poverty In America

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I read a book entitled $2.00 a Day, Living on Almost Nothing in American by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaeffer. This was an enlightening read as I learned that 1.5 million American households (including 3 million children) are living on $2.00 per person, per day. This represents about one out of every twenty-five families with children. This is a level of destitution is so deep that it is difficult to believe it exists in America. One of the World Bank’s metrics of global poverty in the developing world is $2.00 per person, per day. At the time of the study done by the authors, the official poverty line for a family of three in the U.S. worked out to about $16.50 per person, per day and the designation of deep poverty in America is $8.30 per person, per day.

The increase in this group began with the nation’s welfare reform legislation which was passed in 1996. The reforms replaced the country’s main welfare program; Aid to Families with Dependent Children with Temporary Assistance to Needy Families which as the title says is temporary and time-limited.  The group is also a diverse group with more than a third of these households headed by a married couple and nearly half of the $2-a-day poor being white.

The authors spent time with families in Chicago, Cleveland, small, rural hamlets in the Mississippi Delta and Johnson City, Tennessee – a mid-size city in the Appalachian region. The book tells the stories of eight families. Some of these households receive SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) or live in subsidized housing but others weren’t even receiving these minimal benefits. The grit, optimism and heart shown by these families was inspiring yet none of them had been able to escape extreme poverty. I was particularly shocked by the Cleveland families as I realized they live not too far from the West Side Catholic Center.

All the adults in the families wanted to work and did work yet these efforts never lifted them out of their situation. The setbacks, including health issues, lack of dental care (which resulted in many missing teeth) and substandard housing made it incredibly difficult to sustain full-time employment. Despite my exposure to poverty and homelessness I am still struggling to understand how this group of people survives in our community. I can only pray that they stop by the WSCC and we are able to help them.

We are in the midst of preparing for The Giving Tree. Over the next two weeks generous churches, organizations and individuals will be dropping off new socks, underwear, hats, gloves, sweatshirts, toys and full-size toiletries which will be distributed to 1500 men, women and children on December 21st, 22nd and 23rd.  It will be busier than Santa’s workshop as volunteers open, sort, organize distribute these items. We are so grateful for the many volunteers who assist with this project during a very busy time of the year.

This is truly the season of giving! This year, Ohio Catholic Credit Union will
be joining in on four global days dedicated to giving. A total of $650 in donations is up for grabs. Catholic entities across Ohio have a chance of winning $100 on the first four Tuesdays in December, and $250 once the nomination period closes. Beginning now you can log onto Facebook, and post a status nominating your favorite Catholic entity. (Hint: That should be WSCC!) This includesparishes, schools, and organizations.

In a couple sentences, describe why the organization deserves the donation, what
services they provide, what makes them unique, how they go above and beyond in serving the community, or any other information you’d like to include. Be sure
to tag Ohio Catholic Credit Union in your post, or write on their wall!

Every entry will be entered into a drawing on December 1st, December 8th,
December 15th, and December 22nd. The winning Catholic entities will receive $100. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday, December 22nd. Once allnominations are received, Ohio Catholic Credit Union will award $250 to the entity that received the most nominations. Please take a few minutes and nominate WSCC!

In addition, Well Done Catering located at 25022 Center Ridge Road in Westlake is hosting a Holiday Brie Open House on Thursday, December 1oth from 5:00 – 8:00pm. Well Done has this amazing Gourmet Brie with seasonal appropriate flavors for $25. They come frozen and are great for holiday entertaining. I used several last year and they were a big hit. The folks at Well Done are partnering with Moriah House again this year and ask that everyone who stops by bring a “new school age book or a new family game” to donate.

As always, thank you for reading, 


Upcoming at WSCC ::

Wednesday, December 9th – 7:30am – Advancement Committee

Saturday, December 13 – 4pm – Volunteer Advent Mass and Potluck – Lakewood Park Women’s Pavilion

Tuesday, December 15 – 8am – Program Committee

Wednesday, December 16 – 7:30am – Governance Committee

Friday, December 25th – Christmas – WSCC Closed

Friday, January 1st – New Year’s Day – WSCC Closed

Wednesday, January 20 - 5:30pm - Board of Directors Annual Dinner Meeting

Friday, January 22nd – Celebration Honoring Terrie Garr and her years of
service – Noon at Brennan’s Party Center – Look for your invitation soon!