Marty Sanders, Director of Development
- 33% of the population living below the poverty line
- Children living in the bottom of the income distribution quintile have only 4.4% probability of reaching the top income distribution quintile
- 55,204 children homeless
- Rank 35th out of the 50 states and DC in risk of children entering homelessness
- Only 22% of 4th graders in poverty reading at grade level
- Only 19% of 8th graders in poverty reading at grade level
We have much to be thankful for. It would be discouraging to live where the above statistics are true – but actually, we do. This is the plight of children in Charlotte and NC, and the challenges that families living in poverty face.
For most of us – life is good. It is really good. Our families do not have to worry about whether or not there is food to eat, a comfortable place to sleep, clothes to wear. If our kids need help in school, no problem- they get the help they need. If anyone is sick, we go to the doctor. Need a dentist? No worries.
But this is not true for all of us. In Charlotte, 1 in 3 is living below the federal poverty line. In NC, 1 in 4 children are living in poverty. With this poverty come food insecurity, chronic illness, and housing challenges. One in 5 North Carolinians is paying more than 50% of their income for rent.
Thanksgiving is a special time. We should be grateful for what we have, what we have accomplished, what our children have done or are doing. Thankfulness, though, should give birth to compassion, not pity. Thankfulness should lead us towards humility, not arrogance and insensitivity.
This Thanksgiving, be willing to share with the agencies in our community that help those who are battling poverty. Be willing to compassionately engage with others who have needs – not out of pity but out of a genuine concern for the well-being of a fellow human being. Share with a sensitivity and awareness that you would want to experience in similar situation. Encourage-don’t mock. Lift up-don’t make someone the subject of a joke or story. Pray – express gratitude to God for what you have, and intercede for those who struggle. This Thanksgiving – be aware, be mindful, be a part of helping another experience the joy of being thankful.