A long overdue plan to cut childhood poverty

The Covid relief bill now working its way through Congress will mark a transformation in the way this country treats poor children. It’s about damn time.

First the numbers, which vary ever-so-slightly from year-to-year, but which should be appalling to the citizens of the world’s richest country: 24 percent in Swain County, 26.6 percent in Macon, 22.5 percent in Jackson and 22.5 percent in Haywood. That the number of children living in poverty every single day of their lives. Right at one-fourth of the youngsters we see around our community every day.

Organizations step up the fight against COVID-19

Of all the socioeconomic and educational weaknesses lain bare by the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 perhaps none is more disturbing than the fact that the closure of public schools has resulted for many children not just in a loss of education, but also a loss of nutrition. 

Western North Carolina’s children are increasingly poor and hungry

For most, childhood is a time of growth, learning and stability nurtured by fertile environmental and economic conditions that ultimately prepare young people to become the leaders of tomorrow. 

In much of North Carolina, the future’s not nearly that bright. 

Homeless in Haywood for the holidays

I don’t really want to go into the domestic circumstances that led up to it, but even though I had no car, no money, no work and now, nowhere to live, I walked down our darkened driveway in the middle of the cold starry night with little more than the clothes on my back.

Worse than the dearth of resources, I had no social support structure, and with no real knowledge of the resources available to someone in a short-term housing crisis, there I was, standing in a Maggie Valley gas station mere moments into Thanksgiving Day, in a short-term housing crisis.

Expanding the Circle: Circles of Hope program to attack poverty in Jackson County

fr circleshopeMonty Williams didn’t know a whole lot about the Circles of Hope program when he sat down to his first training four years ago. All he knew was that he wanted to do something to help people in poverty escape it, and the program had the full endorsement of Mountain Projects Community Action Agency Executive Director Patsy Dowling. 

Neediest waiting more than three months for benefits: N.C. food stamp delays ‘alarm’ feds

Time has nearly run out for the beleaguered N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to fix the systemic problems plaguing its food stamp program.

After months of admonishments, the federal government has given the state until Feb. 10 to fix a massive backlog of food assistance applications or risk losing millions in federal administrative support funds.

Meadows should re-think vote on food for poor, elderly

By Doug Wingeier • Guest Columnist

Back in March, my wife and I, together with a couple from Brevard, paid a visit to Congressman Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, in his Washington office. We were part of an event called Ecumenical Advocacy Days, in which some 750 members of faith communities from across the country spent a long weekend learning about issues of poverty and hunger, then fanned out across Capitol Hill visiting our legislators to urge passage of a Farm Bill that would:

DSS says faith-based aid groups help fill in gaps

fr lifeworksAs government aid shrinks and church groups step up to fill the void, the thin and sometimes fuzzy line between church and state has gotten even more complicated.

Nonprofits getting creative for funds

fr nonprofitfundraisingFrom charity golf tournaments to bluegrass concerts to spare change jars, nonprofits lending a helping hand with heating costs for the needy use a variety of means to get people to pitch in for the cause.

Struggle to afford heating costs hits new ­high

coverIt looked like any wood yard, piles of tree trunks in various stages of processing: long logs still bearing their bark, shorter stacks cut into rounds and neatly split triangles of firewood ready to be shoveled into a piping stove.

But to Richard Reeves, the woodlot at an abandoned factory site in Waynesville, is ground zero in the battle to fight winter’s impending cold.

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