Who Is Our Neighbor?

Seven percent of children in Amherst live in poverty. Twenty percent of children in Amherst receive free or reduced school lunches due to their families’ income levels. Four percent of families in Amherst live in poverty. In Amherst, the people who live in poverty are the very young and very old. Many of them are here because of the quality of the school districts.

Mary Diana Pouli, director of Amherst Youth & Recreation and a member of Amherst Presbyterian Church, shared this information at an Adult Education class this fall.

Challenges abound for those living in poverty in Amherst, such as:

  • insufficient public transportation,
  • difficulty finding one or more jobs to cover a family’s expenses,
  • affordable afterschool care, and
  • social isolation.

What can we do to help? Mary Diana had these suggestions:

  • Donate these school supplies: 3-ring binders and graphing calculators to schools for the students who cannot afford them. (These are an essential school supply for older students.)
  • Adopt a Classroom to help the teacher with the supplemental supplies she or he may be providing for students who cannot afford the per pupil classroom supply fee.
  • Support the food pantries in Amherst with paper products, cereal and fruit.

If you are interested in pursuing some of these efforts, please contact a member of the Mission Committee with your thoughts.

Mission Committee Members: Ann Eisenlord, Norma Henderson, Joanne Alderfer, Linda Gowans, Peggy Marshall, Andre and Mary Soom, Sheridan Skura, Beth Vandenberg, and Gerry Marchand.

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