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One In Four Kids In Wyoming Valley Lives In Poverty

WILKES-BARRE — A new study shows that more families in Luzerne County are struggling to make ends meet, with one in every four children living in poverty.

The United Way is trying to break the cycle by targeting some of the youngest residents in the Wyoming Valley.

Coloring with markers and building with blocks, many of the kids say they’re having a lot of fun at Luzerne County Head Start on Beekman Street in Wilkes-Barre.

5-year-old Adam’s favorite part of the day is his turn at the keyboard and mouse.

His grandfather Henry Heck has legal custody of Adam. Heck says he’s thankful for Head Start because he is struggling to make ends meet.

“You know when they come out of Head Start because they are so far advanced. And the teachers are fantastic here,” Heck said.

The United Way says that one of its recent studies is showing a troubling trend: nearly 29 percent of kids in the Wyoming Valley are living in poverty. The nonprofit says that statistic has doubled since 2000.

The federal government defines childhood poverty as a family of four living on an income of $23,492.

With some parents working two or three jobs, early education often falls by the wayside, and the United Way says it wants to help break the cycle of poverty in Luzerne County.

“Issues of crime and safety, government spending, workforce readiness, all of those things are impacted by issues of poverty,” said Bill Jones, the president of United Way of Wyoming Valley.

The United Way says it is hosting a seminar this coming Wednesday at Luzerne County Community College for families and even kids who want to get out of poverty.

Some kids like Adam have already set big goals at a young age.

“Do you know what you want to do when you grow up?”

“Be a cop!” Adam said.

Until then, Adam and his classmates will learn the letters before elementary school in the fall.

9 comments

  • Michael Ignatius Warner

    Do they lack refrigerators? TV’s with Cable/Dish? Cell phones & iPods? Computers? Food (from somewhere)? Microwaves? Heat & A/C? A bed? Public transportation stipends? Running water? Bathroom facilities? A TON of agencies & programs offering them opportunities/education if they would only avail them?

    No. They don’t. You see, even the ‘poor’ of this country enjoy things that most of the world doesn’t have – and that even the wealthy did not have just a generation or 2 ago. That’s why the ‘poverty line’ is an artificial and inaccurate yard stick. It cannot be measured by mere income alone. Even our poor are comparatively rich.

  • me

    I believe alot of people just dont want to work. Not all, but most. I know things happen and you lose your job and whatnot but you have to set goals and accomplish them. I lived at interfaith heights as a child, we relied on my dads child support payments and food stamps to make ends meet because she simply did not try hard enough. When I turned 15 I got my first real job and have worked ever since. I have a family and child of my own now. We work hard so that our child is clean, goes to a good daycare, has a nice warm home, and food on her plate. So for most of the people in poverty I highly believe they just dont try hard enough.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Poverty is a choice, a state of mind. Get a job, scale back your spending. Stop buying every stupid gadget that comes out and take control of your life. I came from NOTHING and have built myself up from that. Any of you can do the same. STOP LOOKING FOR HANDOUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rebecca

      I hope you don’t lose your good paying job. Many people who do find if they can get a new job at all, it’s a part time job, much less pay, and zero benefits. To make a blanket statement that poverty is a choice shows true ignorance on your part.

  • Todd

    This place is a dump for decent paying jobs.
    Nobody wants to pay more than $9 or $10 an hour.
    I commute to N.J. for better money.
    Nothing changes here.

    • pam

      With Gas prices so high wouldn’t it make since to live in New Jersey instead of commuting….. Or is it cheaper to live in this area….

      How many Low income housing projects are there in Luzerne county… Could that be the reason there is so many Low income families there….

  • CCKM

    SOooo, if you find a hard working family of four or more who live at this poverty level send them money instead of or at least as well as overseas or an EBT card at least. While it’s true our poorest maybe better off still than many in other countries, it is still no excuse not to assist struggling families in our own country!

    • jellystoneranger

      This country is sliding down to the level of other lesser cultures around the world because of just this kind of thinking of giving people money for NOTHING! I have no problem helping people while they get back on their feet after a job loss , fire , illness but this is a lifestyle! Stop breeding ! Get your A$$ out and work ! You don’t work you don’t eat . Simple as that. That was the way it was before the Demo craps found a way to enslave the sheep for their votes with entitlements. Burn these housing projects to the ground. You do realize the system encourages these women to have more anchor babies to further enhance their welfare grab don’t you or are really as naive as you portray yourself ? When are you expecting your next check in the mail ?

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