From May, 2010 article “Ten Things You Should Know About Poverty In America”

Ten Things You Should Know About Poverty In America by SARAH NELSON, Contributing Writer

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The overwhelming statistics of global poverty often overshadow the very real issue of poverty in America. With the collapse of the housing market and a painfully stagnant economy, millions of Americans are facing hunger, homelessness and unrelenting debt. Just like the billions of global citizens trapped in poverty around the world, impoverished Americans often find themselves oppressed by a cycle that makes it difficult to break free.

  1. Poverty and homelessness are not synonymous, meaning that the poor are not always homeless. Poverty can leave an individual or an entire family without adequate housing, food, access to heath care, education and employment.
  2. There are more than 40 million Americans living below the poverty threshold. The largest percentage of impoverished Americans are between the ages of 25 and 44.
  3. Approximately 14 million Americans living in poverty are children – that’s about 19 percent of all American children.
  4. Across the country, 30 million American families face housing deficiency. About half of those dealing with housing deficiency issues qualify for government aid, but only 4.1 million are actually receiving it.
  5. Poverty can lead to housing concerns like overcrowding or other inadequacies. One of every seven poor families lack a vital housing component, such as electricity, hot water or access to a toilet or shower.
  6. In 2009, approximately 32.2 million Americans were enrolled to receive food stamps. In 2010, that number climbed to 40 million and is expected to continue growing. Experts predict 43 million Americans will be facing food insecurity by 2011.
  7. The official measurement of poverty is determined by the U.S. Census Bureau. The threshold is adjusted for inflation annually, but the methodology used to calculate the poverty threshold (or the amount of cash income required to support an individual or family) has not been updated in more than 40 years.
  8. For a single person under the age of 65, the poverty threshold is an annual income of $10,836. In the state of California, a person who works full-time at a minimum wage job will make just over $15,000. That’s before taxes.
  9. In 2009, more than 3 million Americans lost their homes to foreclosure. Experts suggest that the housing recession will force an additional 1.5 million people into homelessness by 2011.
  10. While poverty in America shows up in every state, nearly every city and spans urban and rural communities, American minorities are much more likely to live in poverty. In 2008, black and Hispanic families made up approximately two-thirds of America’s poor, while white families only accounted for about 12 percent.

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NWA Haiti Relief Info & Next Steps

Thank you to all who attended the NWA Haiti Relief meeting on Tuesday, May 26th.  It was amazing to see all of those with a deep desire to make a difference in the lives of the people of Haiti.

A few things were clear…

  1. There are many relief efforts already underway by the incredible people of NW Arkansas.
  2. We all have a lot to learn.
  3. No one organization or group can do this alone, and there are many opportunities to increase the impact through collaboration and communication.

Thank You!

Thank you to Craig Miller of Thirst No More & Chris Marlow of Help End Local Poverty for sharing their plans for Haiti relief.  For more information on both of these organizations, please visit their websites for periodic updates.

A huge thank you to Keypoint Church, First Baptist Church RogersFellowship Bible Church NW Arkansas for hosting the event and for caring for the people of Haiti in such a a big way.

Other Local Organizations Efforts

We also learned a lot about some NW Arkansas residents who are making incredible investments in Haiti.

  • Adam and Kara Cole are in the process of moving to Haiti, and you can learn more about their story and their mission at Living For a Cause.
  • The Tugwell family has founded The Titus Task to help the orphans of Haiti, and they are also organizing short term trips to Haiti.  Learn more by visiting their website .
  • Razorback Relief:  Operation Haiti is an event starting at 7:00 pm on Friday, June 25th organized to raise awareness and pack 2.5 million meals that will be sent to Haiti.  Visit their Facebook page for more info.

Where do we go from here?

Feedback from the meeting is still rolling in and plans are being made to have follow up conversations on

Wednesday, June 16th at 6:30 at the NorthStar Partnering Group building in Fayetteville

(Google Map Location | Downloadable Google Map)

All are welcome and please come prepared to share…

  1. Current activities/trips planned by you or your organization.
  2. Ways you or your organization is available to help (people, coordination, financial, resources, etc.)

The evening will have a short recap of activities since the initial relief meeting & there will be opportunities for all to share & coordinate.

Contact In Email:  haiti(@)

The Garden & connecting with Samaritan Community Center

The Garden initiative has been in operation since Sept of last year and it has continually been in a process of shaping, evolving & finding new ways to serve our Community.  In that spirit, we are excited to announce a shift of the Jones Center kitchen team to relocate to the

We currently have an incredible relationship with Debbie Rambo, Executive Director of Samaritan Community Center, and her team through the Our Step initiative, Laundry Love, The Farm & now we hope to build upon it through these efforts.  It’s exciting to see how the original vision of World Garden owners Rick and Cindy Boosey continues to grow and develop in our community by providing meals to those without.  It’s amazing to see how a few over-ripe bananas have now turned into a entire center being able to open one more day a week.

Note:  the World Garden kitchen in will continue to serve as a kitchen on Sunday’s in their current capacity.

NWA Haiti Relief Collaboration Meeting May 25th

Over the past few months many incredible people from NW Arkansas have been a part of Haiti relief efforts. It has been incredible to see the local response to the unimaginable needs in Haiti, but we know this community is incredible.  Those efforts in Haiti are making an impact as they partner with some incredible organizations with operations on the ground in Haiti. The resolve of these organizations in the face of incredible difficulty is truly inspiring.

One thing is common to all the relief efforts in Haiti, they must be incredibly effective, effecient & sustainable.

It is with this goal that a collaboration of local churches (who are currently involved in different Haiti relief operations) and members of the Cobblestone Project are hosting a forum to discuss future opportunities to develop long-term sustainable relief for the people of Haiti.

Keypoint Church, First Baptist Church of Rogers, Fellowship Bible and the Cobblestone Project would like to invite you to attend a Haiti Relief Collaboration Meeting to share past succesess, discuss potential future opportunities and hear from the organizations who are directing the relief efforts on the ground in Haiti.

We are lucky to have Criag Miller of Thirst No More and Chris Marlow of Help End Local Poverty in NW Arkansas to be a part of this forum.  Both organizations will have the opportunity to share their current work in Haiti, discuss collaborative relief opportunities and try to solidify future plans.

There are opportunities for medical personnel, construction workers, families, people who can love and care for the Orphan, serve meals, carry bags and play ball with the children.

We hope you can join the discussion about how NW Arkansas can serve the people of Haiti with the greatest impact.

And, if you’re curious just how incredible the people are who are moving these relief efforts foward are, here’s just one example…

Thirst No More


(click here to download a flier)

More info available by contacting Jacob@CobblestoneProject.

Shear Kindness serves students at R.E. Baker Elementary School

Posted by Emily Kaler, Cobblestone Project Founding Member…

Shear Kindness makes its way into our first school! With the help of local stylists (Mia Bella Salon in Bentonville) donating their time and skills, Shear Kindness was able to work with R.E. Baker in providing free haircuts to some of our students.

Permission slips went home and the children were explained about what was going to be happening. They were SO excited! They asked social workers and counselors for days when "haircut" day would be.

As we picked up the kids one by one, you could sense their excitement as some of the girls had not received a haircut in over a year.

Almost all the kids wanted to change their "look", and their smile when they saw their new haircut was priceless!

The story that stands out to me the most is when one boy was asked how he wanted his hair cut.  He said, "I want to look like Mr. Young, our principal" (what a testimony for positive role models!).  When you know Mr. Young, you can understand why the students not only want to look like him, but want to be like him.  When Mr. Young heard, he came right down to see the young man get his hair cut and to give the stylists an up close look at the style. But Mr. Young’s hair was also in need of a haircut, so in the chair he goes.


"Young" Mr. Young, and Mr. Young, both the same hair cut, even down to the same gel! But it doesn’t stop there! Mr. Young takes "young" Mr. Young and shows him off all over school and to his classmates. I have never seen a child so proud.

It was an inspiration to us all how one act of kindness and one personal touch can make such a difference.

Thank you RE Baker and Shear Kindness for making this day happen!

More Photos from the day…

If you want to learn more about Shear Kindness or how you can become involved, please visit the Shear Kindness initiative page for details.