My first job after graduating from college was at a small non-profit agency that did research and advocacy on issues of poverty. It felt like very noble work at the time. I wrote an annual report describing poverty in Utah which was published and distributed to the legislature.
I also had the opportunity to oversee a research study on homelessness in Utah. Part of that project involved interviewing people experienceing homelessness. Those interviews made an impression on me that will last a lifetime. I met young families side-lined by a medical emergency, homeless teenagers struggling with abandonment due to abuse or sexual orientation issues. I sat with war vets and those with mental illness issues. The experience was incredibly eye opening for me.
So, needless to say, issues of poverty have always remained of interest to me. Today the blogging community is coming together to bring awareness to the issue of poverty. When I worked at the non-profit our state had budget windfalls most years. Obvioulsy, the landscape has changed dramatically and social programs such as Medicare are taking a beating. Home foreclosures are at record highs and recent newspaper articles are saying that demand for food stamps are on the rise. None of these things are too surprising given the economic crisis which we now face.
If nothing else, I would encourage you take a few minutes today and learn what you can do to combat poverty.