The Central American nation of Panama is booming. Fueled by a multibillion-dollar expansion of the Panama Canal, a thriving banking industry and capital flight from Venezuela, the tiny nation has the highest economic growth rate in the hemisphere.
But even as the government builds a subway system and markets the country as a tropical paradise for multinational corporations, not everyone is sharing in the prosperity.
Students at Garfield Elementary School eat dinner as part of an after-school program in Kansas City, Mo. In the past few years, a federally subsidized school dinner program has spread from six to all 50 states.
Credit Charlie Riedel / AP
Kathleen Fiengo has worked in school cafeterias for 25 years, but only in the past year did she start cooking supper for kids at Nathan Hale Elementary in Manchester, Conn.
Not long after the start of the school year, Monique Sanders, a teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary School in Manchester, Conn., realized many of her students were going to bed hungry.
"It was very bad. I had parents calling me several times a week, asking did I know of any other way that they could get food because they had already gone to a food pantry," Sanders says. "The food pantry only allows you to go twice per month, so if you are running low on your food stamps or you didn't get what you needed and you're not able to feed your family, that's very stressful."
Joe and Carrie were out of work and had run out of money. They had been living in a motel room with their two young daughters. The Crossroads House homeless shelter has helped them get back on track.
JOE: I was teaching in Maine part-time and suddenly there was no more work. So I said to my wife “let’s see what New Hampshire has - substitute teaching and stuff like that." We lost our place where we were living and we were living in a motel.
Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 11:44 am
We’re all about cool maps at StateImpact, and we just couldn’t resist sharing this one on the changing face of child and senior poverty over the past 30 years. Demographer Kenneth Johnson at the Carsey Institute recently crunched some 2010 Census data, and working with a team at
As zealous consumers know, the sleek look and user-friendly feel of Apple’s high-end gadgets are big part of their sticker price. One man is rethinking form and function with a tiny, inexpensive, bare-bones computer called the Raspberry Pi …which he hopes will bring the power of programming to even the poorest corners of the globe. Eben Upton is the creator of the miniature machine – he’s also founder of the Raspberry Pi foundation.
Relatives of Abdelwahab Zaydoun, a 27-year-old Moroccan who set himself on fire to protest his unemployment and died from his burns, react to his death in Casablanca last month. A year after street protests in Morocco prompted some reforms, Moroccans remain discontent with the gap between rich and poor, and the slow strides toward democracy.
Credit Abdeljalil Bounhar / AP
A Moroccan mother and child beg for money in Rabat, Morocco, last year. About 15 percent of the population lives on $2 a day, and the literacy rate is little more than 50 percent.
Credit Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Moroccan King Mohammed VI (shown here in Tangiers in September) moved quickly to placate the protesters of the Feb. 20 movement. Now, though, the limits of those reforms are being tested.
Recently we’ve seen dueling definitions of what it means to be poor. The U.S. Census Bureau came up with two figures, depending on whether factors like food stamps are included. And another study defined poverty as having scant resources. But some have long said that poverty figures are exaggerated and used for political purposes.
Beth Mattingly: Director of Research on Vulnerable Families at the Carsey Institute and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire.
Around the country soup kitchens and food pantries are reporting a spike in demand. Here in New Hampshire, food bank officials say they can’t keep up with requests for help. The state’s food assistance safety net is showing signs of serious strain.
Things started to change for Christopher Persall sometime this summer.
“It goes from you being able to eat meats, fruits and vegetables and dessert to now there are days where there are some vegetables and some breads.”
It’s that time of year when people light fires in the morning, or see their tomatoes glazed in frost. It won’t be much longer before the real cold comes. Last year, some 45,000 families around New Hampshire received some help paying their heating bills. But this winter, all signs point to a cut in federal fuel assistance.
The math is pretty simple, says Mark Wolfe with the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association.
“At this point both the House and Senate both call for a cut of about $1 billion dollars.”
During these tough economic times people often turn to churches, synagogues and other faith-based organizations for help. Maybe the church runs a shelter, maybe congregants cook food for a family, maybe the temple has a clothing drive.
But while communities of faith will do what they can to help their members and others in the community, few are as well-organized as the Mormon church.
NHPR Correspondent Sheryl Rich-Kern has the story.
Sound of door opening, Kirsta saying hello, hi, how are you, come on in, fade under