How to help those in poverty

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Nearly 1 out of 5 people lives below the poverty line and the majority of them are children.

The question is how to help them help them improve their own quality of life.

“I pretty much grew up in poverty,” volunteer Patricia Freed said.

People who live in poverty, like Freed did, struggle daily just to meet their basic needs, like “what to eat today.”

“We had to uh implement a lot of strategies to just survive everyday,” Freed said.

She’s one of hundreds meeting this week in Topeka trying to help others avoid those challenges.

According to the KACAP website, nationally about 15% of the population lives below the federal poverty standard, it’s 14% in Kansas. The majority are children. It’s 22% nationally and 19% in Kansas.

That’s why breakfast and lunch programs are critical and finding ways to break the cycle of poverty.

Groups like the Kansas Association of Community Action Programs, or KACAP, say one way to do that is to overcome stereotypes.

“Poverty impacts us all, it’s not an us versus them situation, it’s us,” KACAP Executive Director Tawny Stottlemire said.

Freed, who used KACAP programs to get herself out of poverty says another key is believing in yourself.

“That it’s not a permanent situation, you can come over, you can over come it and you can move forward,” Freed said.

One of the main purposes of this year’s conference is to spread the word about all the available programs and explain how they work.

This isn’t just a Kansas issue, organizations from 10 other states are participating in this year’s conference.

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