Poverty proves Prominent Issue in Robeson County

The focus of this website is all things life. This includes family, news, entertainment, health, and much more. There is an issue that is present in a county in North Carolina. This is issue cannot go unseen or unheard for much longer. It is a community in need of help. A major state magazine is reporting in its latest edition that Robeson County has more people living under the poverty level than any other county in North Carolina with a population of greater than 65,000.

Robeson County, with its 15 small cities, is home to the city that has been recorded as the poorest city in the United States. That city is Lumberton, North Carolina. The last updated median income report stated that the median income for Lumberton in 2013 was 28,293, with a population of 135,517.  Out of 3,143 counties in the United States, Robeson County ranks 80th. The news in Robeson County is even worse. According to a recently released report from the N.C. Justice Center’s Budget and Tax Center, a full 33 percent of Robeson County residents —250 percent higher than the national average — live in poverty, and almost half of those 43,000 people have to worry about where they will get their next meal. 

With poverty comes many things; hunger, homelessness, jobless, food insecurity, and more.  Due to the prominent issue of poverty and hunger in Robeson County, there are many different services that are provided to help those who are in need.

The continuous increase of poverty in Robeson County is due to the economic and social impact of job loss. Many years ago, Robeson County had plenty of jobs to offer. There were factories that needed workers and bakeries that needed bakers, but eventually the factories were shut down. The decline in manufacturing  left a lot of people without jobs.

The poverty came about due to a ripple effect of unfortunate events. First, the job loss. Second, the loss of household income. Third, loss of business tax. The cycle goes on and on. The lives of many people of the Lumbee tribe were effected. Robeson County is their home.

The goal has been to figure out what can be done to fix the issue of poverty in this county. Students at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke conducted a research project that could help come solutions to the issue. The university is located in Robeson County. Their solutions are as follows; Need for funding programs, such as a food pantry and community garden. Community involvement is a major need.

Hunger does not just exist in local Robeson County community members, as quiet as it is kept, there are students, faculty, and staff right on the campus of UNC Pembroke who are hungry or food insecure. In 2013, through a non-random sampling, 200 students across the campus were given an adaption of a U.S Department of Agriculture measure of food security. The survey results proved that 11.5 freshman, 20percent sophomores, 34 percent juniors, 31.5 percent seniors, and 1.5 percent graduate students were food insecure. This information was provided by Christie Poteet, the CARE Resource Center director at UNCP.

 

Take a look at the powerpoint I put together:

Hunger, Poverty & Food Insecurity in Rob. Co.

 

New Life Mission

The issue of poverty is widespread. There is a significant amount of homeless people in the United States. While this is true, there is not a lot being done to get some of the homeless people off of the street. New Life Mission founder Reverend Grace Kim, is taking action in her community the best way she can, by helping those who are in need. Reverend Kim is a religious leader and advocate for the homeless.

Reverend Kim felt that God led her to the area that she is in for a reason. Living in one of the poorest areas, downtown Fayetteville, Reverend Kim maintains a homeless shelter for men and women of all ages.  New Life Mission is a non profit organization that caters to  those who are in need of food and shelter. Reverend Kim believes that poverty is a serious issue in Cumberland and surrounding counties, especially Robeson, which is one of the poorest counties in the United States.

“Some people think of poverty and homelessness as a day job, but it doesn’t go away at night,” Reverend Kim said.

Reverend Kim’s homeless shelter is in an area that has been poverty stricken for many years. She says that the seriousness of poverty is at an all time high. Over the last few years, there have been several robberies at New Life Mission.

“They took the air conditioning units, lawn mowers, so much. That’s why it is hot in the shelter during the summer. We stay warm in the winter because we have a wood burner”, Reverend Kim said. During my interview with Reverend Kim, we both sat with sweat running down our faces and the sun beaming in from the front door. The air was thick and the smell was unforgettable.

Reverend Kim is an expert in the area of homelessness and veteran care. Five years ago, a man by the name of John Kiel came to New Life Mission covered in blood. He had been severely wounded.

“The wound was so bad that I could smell it”, Reverend Kim said.

After a few moments of trying to get an understanding of who the man was. Reverend Kim discovered that he was a veteran and needed medical attention immediately. She took him to the veteran’s hospital in Fayetteville, North Carolina where he was denied care. Reverend Kim took the situation into her own hands. She nursed John back to health, and now five years later, he is living at the homeless shelter.

“A lot of veterans are homeless. It’s sad to say, but it is true. I wish I could help them all, but I only have space here for very few. I need help,” Reverend Kim said.

Donations can be made to New Life Mission. Reverend Kim said that she can be contacted at 910-864-4678. She has asked that anyone who would like to volunteer please contact her as soon as possible.

Hear more of John’s story here:

 

 

**If you have questions concerning New Life Mission or anything in this article, feel free to email me. Jenking.Jasmin93@gmail.com**

 

 

Robeson County fights Poverty and Food Insecurity

Just taking a ride through Robeson County’s 15 cities: Red Springs, Pembroke, Fairmont, St. Pauls, Maxton, Rowland, Parkton, Orrum, Lumber Bridge, Rennert, Proctorville, Marietta, Rayham, McDonald and Lumberton shows how poverty has engulfed Robeson County. Robeson County is one of the poorest counties in the United States. In an American Community Survey from 2012, 34.50 percent of Robeson County was discovered to be below poverty. There are places in the county that provide help for those who are hungry or in need of shelter. In 2013, the News & Observer published an article about poverty in North Carolina. It was discovered that over a half-million households, in 2012, participated in the food stamp program. In Robeson County, that included 33 percent of families, the third-highest figure in the nation in counties over 65.

The county has the third-highest poverty level in the country for a county its size. Among the issues in the poverty stricken county, lies the issues of hunger and food insecurity. In 2013, 23 percent of Robeson County’s population was food insecure. That is 30,500 people. In the midst of those who are hungry and food insecure, there are children. USDA Economic Research Services showed that 50 million individuals in the United States are food insecure. Seven million of these individuals are children. 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent, Shea DeJarnette said that statewide, the estimate of youth that have food insecurities is one in four. A recent USDA study showed that North Carolina’s hunger numbers are increasing. However, even with the increase over the last few years the USDA is reporting food insecurities statewide at just over 15% which equates more to one in six.

“Kids often do not say “I’m hungry, I don’t get enough to eat.” However when you sit down they eat everything in sight and want more, often you question if it is a growing child or a hungry child”, DeJarnette said. She works at the Robeson County Cooperative Extension (RCCE). RCCE Is affiliated with North Carolina State University and A&T. “I can tell you that Robeson County 4-H works with communities in schools to offer food for their backpack pals program,” DeJarnette said. The backpack pals program gives students in specific elementary schools backpacks of food on Friday so they will have three meals a day over the weekend.

The Church and Community Center in Red Springs helps those who are in need of food. They provide quarterly food boxes and Second Harvest daily.