MARLENE WEBSTER OF SHIAWASSEE HOPE was the guest speaker at the Shiawassee Dems meeting on Wednesday, June 12 at the Corunna Community Center. Webster offered an excerpt from her Poverty 101 class to those in attendance – educating minds and hearts on the reality of poverty and demystifying some of the stigmas associated with the issue.
Shiawassee Hope is a locally funded 501(C)3 nonprofit that empowers people to move from poverty to independence by connecting them to area resources, even if it means taking the resources to where those people live. An enormous obstacle for those living in poverty is often transportation, which can prohibit people from necessary resources. One example Webster offered explained that a large portion of people living in poverty are found in the southwest quadrant of Owosso. However, there aren’t larger-scale grocery stores located in that quadrant, complicating matters for those in need of groceries with minimal or no access to transportation. A possible stigma associated with this situation might fall on unfair judgments being made at the checkout lane of convenience stores after witnessing someone in poverty purchase junk-food items with government assistance. In actuality, lacking transportation to a full-scale grocery store, people in poverty might be purchasing convenience store items because that is what is available to them.
The next Shiawassee Dems meeting is planned for Wednesday, July 10. The guest speaker will be Elena Greer, the MDP Young Dem’s Chair. July is also a food-drive month, so nonperishable items will be accepted and will be delivered the following day to the First United Methodist Church of New Lothrop Food Pantry. Also, on Saturday, July 13, the Shiawassee Dems have organized a Summer Roadside Cleanup in Bennington Township at 9 a.m.