The Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin (JLCD) recognizes National Poverty in America Awareness Month. Poverty awareness is an important issue to JLCD, with a particular focus on North Pinellas County, JLCD is committed to building public awareness of poverty and food insecurity in our community.
The poverty rate in the U.S. soars in 2020
The U.S. poverty rate has surged over the past five months, with 7.8 million Americans falling into poverty. According to researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame, the poverty rate jumped to 11.7% in November, up 2.4 percentage points since June. While overall poverty levels are low by historical standards, the increase in poverty this year has been the biggest jump in a single year since the government began tracking poverty 60 years ago.
Unemployment leads to food insecurity
COVID-19 has affected all Americans. However, many vulnerable workers and families now face unemployment, leading them to be at high risk of poverty and food insecurity. 1.4 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending January 9, 2021, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
What is JLCD doing to help?
From January 25 – January 29, over 40 JLCD members will participate in the Little Black Dress Initiative — a campaign where members will wear the same black dress five days in a row to illustrate the effect poverty can have on a woman’s access to resources, confidence, and opportunity.
3 ways you can raise awareness and help fight poverty this month:
1. Learn (and talk) about the issues by visiting:
- Feeding America
- JWB Pinellas
- Effects of COVID-19 on Food Insecurity
- NPR: Food Insecurity in America by the Numbers
2. Share information on your social media accounts such as:
- Impact Reports
- JLCD Community Related Social Media Posts
3. Support an organization working to address poverty or related issues
- Visit Charity Navigator is to find a top-performing charity to support.
- Review the recently published Forbes America’s Top Charities 2020 to find a nonprofit to donate to.
- Donate to JLCD’s Little Black Dress Initiative. Funds raised support our programs like community partnerships with local food pantries, book donations, and local schools’ literacy events.
4. Volunteer in your community
While poverty is a complex issue, the choice to educate ourselves and demonstrate compassion is not.
Join JLCD this month in learning more about poverty in our communities and advancing the conversation about how we can make a positive difference.
The article was written by JLCD Member Amy Tramer.