• When people are provided the needed resources and relationships, they are better able to help themselves and lift themselves from poverty.

  • Never underestimate the potential of those born into Poverty.   An error happened in a Japanese hospital when a midwife took new-born babies away to be bathed, and then returned them to the wrong mothers.  “I feel…regret and also anger…I want them to turn back the clock…When I found out about my true parents, I wish I was brought up by them.”  This impoverished Japanese truck driver was switched at birth and raised on welfare checks in a 100-square foot apartment by a single mother after his supposed father died.  However, the family he was actually born into lived a life of privilege, with first-class educations, and the boy he was switched with is now the president of a real estate company - one man’s tragedy being another’s serendipity.  The philosopher John Rawls in “A Theory of Justice,” suggests a hypothetical “veil of ignorance” before birth, in which no one knows his or her position in this life.  Gender, race, social status, parentage or even what generation of history they would occupy are all hidden.  Rawls then asks how we would want a society structured, if we did not know where we would land.  ("Switched at birth, man raised in poverty discovers real identity," by Eric Schulzke, NBC World News and Deseret News, December 15, 2013) 

  • "I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem."   (Pope Francis' address to Congress, September 24, 2015)

  • The lower-income class of Americans is growing.  It has been growing larger over the last 45 years.  The middle class is no longer the majority in America.  In 1971, 61% were considered middle class (defined as a household making between $42,000 and $126,000 annually); and now, that is down to 50%.  As the middle class has hallowed out, the upper-income bracket has grown from 14% to 21% of Americans.   A Pew study showed that the Great Recession hit the middle class especially hard, as their median wealth fell by 28% between 2001 - 2013.  The upper class now takes home nearly half of all annual income in the U.S., 49%, up from 29% in 1970.  The lower-income tier grew from 16% to 20% from 1970 to 2015.  ("CBS Pushes Report on Income Inequality, Decline of Middle Class; No Mention of Obama’s Policies,” by Curtis Houck, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, December 9, 2015)
What You Can Do

  • Become self-reliant, and then help others do the same thing.   
  • Volunteer your time, talents, skills, compassion, expertise and financial means to help others.   
  • Help meet short-term needs by donating excess food, clothing and household items to local resources working to help our neighbors to become self-reliant.  
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

  • DSHS Home and Community Services
    Food, Cash, Medical assistance

    Dept. of Social and Health Services - Washington State
    (509) 323-9400
    (509) 227-2200   North Office
    (509) 227-2500   Central Office, 1313 N. Maple Street
    (509) 227-2400   Southwest Office
    (509) 227-2700   Valley Office, 8517 E. Trent Ave, Ste 202

  • TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
    Federal program (formerly Welfare) provides cash assistance.
    Designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency.
    80,000 people in Washington receive TANF, including 55,000 children (2015)
    (202) 401-9275 (Help for Families)