Help us to help others.
The Daily News 25th Annual People Helping People Christmas Food, Gift and Fund Drive is under way.
This annual campaign helps the less fortunate in the Dickinson-Iron County area.
We collect food, gifts and money, and turn these items over to the local St. Vincent de Paul Stores, and the local Salvation Army Chapter.
Volunteers there distribute the goods to local needy individuals and families during this holiday season.
Yes, this is America - the richest nation on Earth. However, that doesn't mean that everyone has too much money.
Hunger may not be as noticeable in the United States as it is in some Third World countries, but it does exist - even in the Dickinson-Iron County area.
In fact, charities say more people have come to them for help this season because of the sluggish economy.
Nationally and locally, food pantries are struggling to accommodate the increasing number of Americans who need help.
Sure, we all see the shoppers busy picking out presents and gifts for the holidays.
What we don't always see is the invisible population, the homeless and hungry living amongst us.
In fact, the ranks of America's poor edged up last year to a high of 49.7 million, based on a new U.S. Census Bureau measure that takes into account medical costs and work-related expenses.
The number of poor people exceeded the 49 million, or 16 percent of the population, who were living below the poverty line in 2010, the Census Bureau announced this month.
Broken down by group, poverty was disproportionately affecting people 65 and older - about 15.1 percent, or nearly double the 8.7 percent rate calculated under the official formula. That's because they have higher medical expenses, such as Medicare premiums, deductibles and drug costs, that aren't factored into the official rate.
Working-age adults ages 18-64 saw an increase in poverty to 15.5 percent, due mostly to commuting and child care costs.
Among the findings, the Census Bureau said:
- If it weren't for Social Security payments, the poverty rate would rise to 54.1 percent for people 65 and older and 24.4 percent for all age groups.
- Without refundable tax credits such as the earned income tax credit, child poverty would rise from 18.1 percent to 24.4 percent.
- Without food stamps, the overall poverty rate would increase from 16.1 percent to 17.6 percent.
With the stagnant economy, more people need help getting food for their families and toys for their children as the holiday season approaches.
Locally, St. Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army and others are being flooded with requests from agencies, individuals and families seeking help.
We are seeking your help to help others in need.
The Daily News asks area residents to donate food, gifts or cash to this worthy cause.
Non-perishable food donations may be dropped off at our office at 215 E. Ludington St. in Iron Mountain
All local donations will be used locally.
That means all food and cash donations collected in the Iron Mountain-Kingsford area will be given to the Iron Mountain St. Vincent de Paul Store and to the Iron Mountain Salvation Army.
Food donations should be non-perishable, and gifts should be new, unwrapped, suitable for a child or adult.
Gift certificates and cash donations will be used to purchase perishable items, such as turkeys, hams, produce and baked goods.
Checks should be made out to:
People Helping People,
P.O. Box 460
Iron Mountain, MI 49801.
We will accept contributions through Thursday, Dec. 20.
The Daily News also will help publicize efforts by other groups and organizations that help others during this holiday season.
This is the season of giving.
Take an active part in helping the less fortunate.
It is the true meaning of the season.