WSAZ | Charleston, West Virginia | News

Community Gathers to Fight Child Poverty

By: Alex Snyder Email
By: Alex Snyder Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Octavia Cordon, who is raising her three kids on Charleston’s West Side, says she’s seen all too much the effects poverty can have on a neighborhood.

"A lot of crime, you know, a lot of unemployment, poor residents, poor relationships with landlords," Cordon said.

Which is why she and dozens of others came to Mary C. Snow Elementary School on Tuesday night, to shed light on the problems child poverty causes and how a community can come together to help.

"The only way to lift children out of poverty in the short run is to create the economic opportunities for their parents," said Pastor Matthew Watts with the Grace Bible Church of Charleston.

Three out of every 10 kids in West Virginia lives below the poverty line, and more than half receive free or reduced school lunches.

“We tend to think that things always get better -- but the child poverty rate is growing," said Stephen Smith, director at West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition.

To end it, leaders say children need stable homes, improved access to healthcare and increased job training skills, and it all starts with education.

"So, you know, it's really hard to become better if you don't know better and to know what's out there as far as the resources available," Cordon said.

It's something Octavia continues to teach her three young girls.


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