Members of the local clergy and civic leaders will come together to discuss different issues stemming from poverty at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at First Christian Church, 1625 N. Broadway.
A main topic of discussion will be ways to assist the working poor, and how to avoid duplication of services, Rev. Ray Belford of First Christian Church said.
Concerns have been expressed for parents whose children are on free and reduced lunches at school.
“While the schools have implemented programs to help the children, the needs of the parents still exist in many cases,” Belford said. “If there is no food in the home for the children, then it is likely there is no food in the home for the parents.”
Concerns about senior citizens in Shawnee have arisen as well.
“They [senior citizens] might know about Meals on Wheels and other assistance programs, but they have too much pride to ask for help,” Belford said.
These issues are compounded when someone is trying to live on Social Security and cannot pay for all of their medicines and food, he added.
Many of those living in poverty don’t have the time to get the education required for them to get a better paying job with benefits, including health insurance, Belford said. These individuals don’t have time because of intense work schedules and family obligations, he added.
However, many manufacturing companies are higher, and if these people can receive an education “suddenly they’re lifting themselves out of poverty,” Belford said.
The public is invited to attend the meeting and share their views. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at First Christian Church.
Belford indicated the meeting is in response to a request that was made to the Shawnee Ministerial Association. However, the association is not sponsoring the meeting and makes no endorsements as an association as part of their policy.