Archived Story

Poverty affects the children

Published 9:36am Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I grew up in poverty: 11 kids on dairy farm, sleeping three to a bed, shoes with holes in them, butter and sugar sandwiches for lunch. My ride to school was five of us piled into the front of a pickup with my sister on my lap. So I knew what it was to grow up in poverty.

But in my studies of poverty over the years, I realized: There’s poverty and there’s poverty. One writer, Donna Beegle, describes the poverty she grew up in. She never knew when her family would be evicted from their home, when there would be food in the fridge or cupboards or when the electricity would be cut off. This was a poverty of another sort altogether. It was a revelation to me.

Over the past few months, citizens of Freeborn County have come together — with the support of the Blandin Foundation — to form Leaders Partnering to End Poverty, or LPEP. Our goal is to start a discussion on poverty. As the kickoff to our discussions, on July 23, poverty consultant Jodi Pfarr will speak at the Albert Lea High School auditorium for two sessions. The first is from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the second session is 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.  Day care, transportation and meals are provided.

Registration is encouraged by calling Albert Lea Community Education at 507-379-4834.

Please come and listen and examine your own take on poverty. Why?

• Some of us citizens of Freeborn County live in poverty.

• The free and reduced lunch rates in Freeborn County range from 38 percent to 75 percent by school.

• Studies show that poverty is detrimental to the learning, the brains and the very health of the children living in our county.

• We owe it to ourselves and our communities to understand better the systemic and underlying causes of poverty and what we individually and collectively can do about it.

So, please come, listen, talk, share and begin a journey which will help all the residents of our county. Lift one, lift all.


Mary Hinnenkamp

LPEP member

Albert Lea