in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
Increase public awareness of poverty
From: Kathleen K., Sioux Falls, SD
I participated as an interviewer in the 2008 American Community Survey and am active in Bread for the World (a Christian organization advocating to Congress to end hunger here and abroad) in South Dakota. The greatest frustration I have in the War Against Poverty is the lack of public awareness -- that people don't grasp how many individuals and families are directly affected by poverty (and low incomes). Our state and our community is blithely considering hiking sales tax from 6 percent to 8 percent (combination of state and city sales taxes). This is tax on necessities such as food and heat (but not medicine). At the same time, they would keep sales tax at 3 percent on luxury items (e.g., snowmobiles, hot air balloons, jet skis). Regardless of how much information non-profits, the school free and reduced meal programs, and United Way release, it is clear that city and state officials and a majority of citizens do not understand the true situation in South Dakota.