Poverty May Be Closer To Home Than You Choose To Realize

Junnette Caldera, Staff Writer

There is so much unjust action that goes on in America that many people don’t have the voice to stand for. Let us ask ourselves first, what is injustice? Is it turning a blind eye to what our beliefs and values are? Is it looking away from someone in need or hurt? Take a deeper look into our world and this time and age filled with so many unjust actions. Poverty is one of the most complicated subjects on social injustice out there, and it affects college students everywhere. Every day that passes there is approximately 21,000 children dying due to starvation, which poverty is the structural root of. This is equivalent to 1 child dying every 4 seconds, a major global issue that people turn the other cheek to, rather than to acknowledge it. There were 15.7 percent of San Diego residents who lived below the poverty line in 2014; an even more disturbing fact is that poverty is more common among California’s children than in the population all together. Which causes more children to not attend school or its more common for them to just drop out.

Collected in the article Examining the Effect of Off-campus College Students on Poverty Rates, it states that of the total 23.2 million college students in the United States 51.8 percent lived below the poverty level whom lived off-campus in non-family households.

The amount of Americans living in poverty is 46.7 million people. The amount of children under the age of 18 living in poverty is 15.5 million.

A major cause is annually about 2.3 billion tons of food is wasted. That number was the highest it reached in 2009 and 2010 and continues to stay somewhat below that or maintains that. This statistic is equivalent to more than half of the world’s annual cereals crop, which is mind blowing. Now what can America do to reduce these numbers? There are many things you can be mindful of when you eat or buy your next meal. Like being realistic and shopping smart, plan your meals, get exactly what is needed on your grocery list, and try to avoid impulse buys. Doing this can help you not buy food that you don’t need and are unlikely to actually eat. Planning your meals is probably the best way to go, this way you’re getting exactly what you need, knowing it will be eaten. Also saving leftovers, pack up uneaten food in storage containers, toss in the freezer or fridge, and you’re ready with a delicious meal the next day.

In addition the lack of awareness and encouragement in people needs to increase and evoke change. This affects all American lives, because this number could only get worse with no solutions. Poverty includes students paying for college credits living a paycheck at a time, it also includes the homeless, single parents living paycheck-to-paycheck trying to put food on the table for their children; it also includes families under government assistance such as WIC and food stamps. Solutions for poverty aren’t that simple. It is obvious that political solutions have to take action. Not including long-term mitigation. So where do you start?

Homeless shelters for one should be expanded to fill more women and children. Another solution is by improving agriculture in a way where fields are not being used on wasteful economy needs such as tobacco, sugar etcetera. Taking action in supporting food aid, and providing volunteer food drives at colleges or develop programs that help feed students and find jobs. Also helping women and youth acquire job experience and get on their feet for a better lifestyle. I’m sure what you’re thinking now is; how is all of this going to be paid for? Well how about starting by becoming more aware of what goes on around you. Acknowledge the importance of poverty and how it affects everyone. Have the voice to make change and come together and encourage others to get up and help those in need. Take action to help create new jobs to get back to prerecession employment levels, raise minimum wage to reduce poverty and increase wages, support pay equity so that females and males have equal pay for equal work. This can make a difference drastically by increasing the nation’s gross domestic product by just closing the gender wage gap. Start by thinking about the change that we can make for poverty to help America grow positively.