First State Community Action Agency will call attention to issues of poverty and inequality through a number of community service activities as part of National Community Action Month. National Community Action Month, held annually in May, highlights community action agencies’ work helping millions of families and individuals escape poverty and achieve economic stability each year.
During the month of May, First State will reach out to vulnerable citizens and communities, serving meals to the displaced and homeless, providing foreclosure mediation services to homeowners, and working with residents in rural communities to construct safe bus stops for school children. First State will also join forces with local non-profits in various efforts to promote healthy lifestyles, to engage youth and adults in employment opportunities, and to help build a home for a low-income family.
“We wanted go beyond the extent of our current services to help individuals overcome the plight of hunger, homelessness, and unemployment,” said Bernice Edwards, executive director.
“Our goal is to highlight problems of poverty and growing inequality in our state while bringing resolution through service to the families and communities impacted by poverty,” said Edwards. “When you’re interacting face to face with someone living in poverty, your awareness of the growing problems is heightened and you’re in a better position to guide them along the path towards economic security.”
First State Community Action Agency will join community action agencies across the country in hosting events and activities throughout May aimed at highlighting poverty problems and solutions. Due to the uncertain economic climate - still reeling from the Great Recession and high unemployment rates - community action agencies feel it is critical to focus local, state, and national attention and efforts on helping impoverished people move into the middle class, creating jobs, and growing the economy.
“We want to call attention to increasing poverty problems and financial difficulties many in our community are facing,” said Edwards. “For the past few years, we’ve been dealing with the weak economy that is creating unemployment for millions of people, many of them low-income. This is what creates economic inequality - if you don’t give vulnerable Americans resources and opportunities to succeed economically, they will continue to live in poverty.”
The national office of the Community Action Partnership designates May as National Community Action Month to recognize community action agencies’ work fighting poverty on the local level. Each year, community action agencies help 20 million Americans achieve financial stability through programs such as weatherization, job training and placement, financial education, housing, energy assistance and transportation.
First State Community Action Agency creates opportunities for people to thrive and prosper personally and economically through a variety of programs and services that encourage financial literacy, help people complete their education, receive job training and purchase a home”, said Edwards. “Our program participants were already finding it difficult to make ends meet, but the Great Recession and the challenging economy have exacerbated the situation. First State’s services are needed now more than ever in order to help people escape poverty and have a chance to enter the middle class.”