Sobering statistics

Published 12:14 am Thursday, September 29, 2011

There’s no sugar coating the facts: poverty continues to climb in North Carolina and Beaufort County.

According to research recently announced by the N.C. Budget & Tax Center, the state’s poverty rate has soared 22 percent since the Great Recession began in 2007, hitting 17.5 percent of citizens in 2010.

Those numbers are just as discouraging here in Beaufort County – one of the most economically distressed counties in the state – before, during and after Hurricane Irene.

The Beaufort County Department of Social Services has seen a 12 percent increase in the number of food-stamp aid cases since August of last year. Nearly 10,000 individuals are now recipients.

Sally Love, executive director at the Washington-based food pantry Eagle’s Wings, reported that 3,961 individuals have visited the facility through June of this year.

Hurricane Irene only made matters worse.

“It’s a long-term problem, and it’s not going to go away,” Love said of the storm-related need.

The fact is that this can be a life-or-death battle for many victims who are depending on the kindness of neighbors to help make it through the lean years.

Take a moment to extend a lifeline to those who struggle to stay afloat. A donation to Eagle’s Wings can go a long way to ease the suffering.