Today the U.S. Census Bureau released data on income, poverty and health insurance for 2013. The data show that poverty continues to impact families and communities throughout the country. Despite the recession coming to an end officially in 2009, many Americans are still unable to make ends meet.
Child hunger and poverty expert Mariana Chilton, PhD is available to comment to news media about the data and to place the numbers into context. Members of the Witnesses to Hunger program – low-income caregivers with first-hand experiences living in poverty – are also available.
- Chilton on the new U.S. Census poverty data: “While these numbers continue to be concerning, what they don’t tell us is the impact this sustained level of poverty has on communities, families, and especially children. Our research shows that when a child’s household struggles with poverty and hunger that child can experience cognitive, emotional and developmental delays facing lifelong impacts on their health and wellbeing.”
- Whitney H., member of Witnesses to Hunger, on living in poverty: “It is very hard to survive. I live paycheck to paycheck, working hard to overcome the poverty I live in. The lack of money, education and support means that I struggle just to feed my family.”
- Chilton, on the impact of SNAP and other food assistance programs on poverty: “Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and many others help the millions of families struggling with poverty to put food on the table despite their economic struggles. The data released today showed that the receipt of SNAP benefits helped many households stay above the federal poverty line, when otherwise they would have fallen below. While families above the federal poverty line still struggle, SNAP relieves stress for families fighting to meet their most basic needs. With cuts in the last year to SNAP, the families who rely on the program must wonder what is being done to help them. “
- Whitney, on policies: “The problem is that poverty is not addressed with the proper aggression or care. I am witnessing poverty firsthand, where most policymakers have never experienced it. No policies will be effective if they are made by people who cannot relate to them.”
Chilton is an associate professor and director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University’s School of Public Health and the founder of Witnesses to Hunger. Witnesses to Hunger is a research and advocacy program, based at the center at Drexel, in which low-income caregivers share their first-hand experiences and perspectives on poverty through photographs and public testimony.
Whitney H. is a mother of two who struggles to make ends meet despite working two jobs. (Whitney and other members of Witnesses to Hunger typically use only their first name in official statements but may be willing to use their full names when commenting to the press.)
For news media inquiries for Chilton, contact Rachel Ewing at email@example.com or 215.895.2614. For additional assistance, contact with members of Witnesses to Hunger and more information about the Center for Hunger-Free Communities, contact Kate Scully, policy director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.762.1074.