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Fight Poverty: Donate to Food Banks

Today, October 15th, 2008, is Blog Action Day [3]. It’s a day when over 2,000 bloggers, myself included, will direct the conversation towards a subject that needs greater attention – poverty.

Here in the United States, there is defined “poverty line” (also known as a poverty threshold) published by the Census Bureau for statistical purposes and the Department of Health and Human Services for administrative purposes. That poverty line is used for a variety of benefit calculations and for 2008 it’s set at $10,400 for an individual in the 48 contiguous states. $10,400… that’s it. That’s $866.67 a month.

The federal minimum wage is currently set at $6.55 an hour (effective July 27th, 2008; though increasing to $7.25 an hour July 24th, 2009). If you take a “standard” 2,000 hour work-year (though most work far more to subsist), that’s $13,100 – or a mere $2700 above the poverty line.

In a world where CEOs get hundreds of millions of dollars, can’t we as a society do something about it?

Don’t worry. This isn’t a post about hating CEOs, celebrities, athletes or anyone else who succeeds, public record has shown that many are doing a tremendous amount in terms of giving back. What I’m mean is that we should do more to help our fellow American. Consider donating to your local food bank. With Thanksgiving on the horizon and the holidays coming up, food banks will be under a tremendous amount of strain and they need our help.

The $10 you thought about donating to Barack Obama or John McCain’s presidential campaign? Send that to your local food bank, it will directly impact several lives in your community. The $50 you wanted to send to the American Cancer Society? Consider a food bank or soup kitchen. You aren’t worried about cancer if you don’t know where your next meal will come from. I know the recent financial turmoil has probably made you reconsider your charitable contributions this year, that’s perfectly normal. You are not alone. However, you don’t have to donate $100 or $50 or even $10 to make an impact.

$5 can go a very long way.

Find a local food bank.