Look for new ways to combat poverty

The family featured on the front page of the paper lives in poverty. Jennifer Harbert is a single mother who works and also receives assistance. She grew up in a similar fashion.

Jennifer’s not alone.

In Marietta, nearly a quarter of residents are currently living below the poverty line. There are some who made bad choices, some who didn’t have adequate access to education and job training, some who didn’t know how to pull themselves out of generational patterns and still more who just had a run of bad luck and need time to pull themselves out of a financial hole.

Whether you fall into those categories, empathize with those who do or feel they’re responsible for their own fate, it benefits the entire community when poverty levels go down.

We challenge our community leaders as well as those serving and representing us at the state and national level to keep thinking about new, far-reaching ways to battle poverty in our community and others.

It’s been 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty, introducing several aid programs including food stamps, but while a few battles may have been won, the war rages on.

We can’t get complacent and simply keep the current programs going. We need to think bigger.

Many of the steps put in place in the last 50 years have treated only the consequences of poverty, such as hunger and homelessness, and not the root of the problem. Too many are still poor, and just receiving assistance to get by. Our goal as a nation should continue to be reducing the poverty and need for aid.

We’ll examine some of the possible ways to do that -such as making college more affordable-as we continue our series on the war on poverty throughout the week.

But in the meantime, we hope everyone keeps in mind that just about one in every four people in the city of Marietta lives in poverty-a staggering number-and doesn’t forget to keep fighting this war.