November 26, 2007

Kunerth on Fighting Poverty

Another Bill Kunerth piece shared via the Argus-Leader newspaper in Sioux Falls, which asked the question: What's the best way to help prevent people from going hungry in our state and nation, not to mention the world? The average person on food stamps in South Dakota reportedly gets $21 a week for food -- much less than some of us spent in one day for Thanksgiving. Here's Bill's take on the topic:

In answering questions that involve major social problems, my response is always the same—coordination among many individuals and agencies.
So, the best way we can deal with hunger (poverty in general) is through a cooperative effort at all levels of government, the business community, churches, the educational system, medical and legal communities, and voluntary efforts by individuals and organizations.
An excellent example is the Beyond Welfare program in Ames, Iowa, which is entering its 11th year. Beyond Welfare is a non-profit organization which helps people move from welfare into the main stream of society. It is funded by city, county, and state governments, foundation and federal grants, churches, and local donations. It operates with a board of directors, the majority of whom are participants in the program. Weekly pot-luck meetings are held in a church and involve participants, staff members and volunteers who discuss the program, individual concerns, success stories, and future activities.

Unlike many other similar programs, Beyond Welfare emphasizes bringing people out of isolation and into a friendly, caring, supportive community.

Beyond Welfare has a Wheels to Work program which has provided 150 cars to persons without transportation, loans to cover emergencies, assistance in employment, clothing, housing, budgeting, nutritional advice, child care, and help in returning to school. Participants are expected to contribute services to others, especially when they get on their feet. For more information on the program, call 515/292-5992,


Bill Kunerth lives in Belle Fourche and is Emeritus Professor of Journalism at Iowa State University. Here is an excellent video about Beyond Welfare.

No comments: