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Mending our own fences

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In 2006, the unemployment rate in Hinsdale was 3.4 percent. Five years later in 2011, it doubled to 6.9 percent. The same is also said for the neighboring communities in DuPage County. Long known as one of the nation’s wealthiest counties, DuPage County has the highest per capita income in the state and the highest in the Midwest. However, they are about 34,599 residents with incomes below the poverty level.

There is currently an obvious financial need on behalf of families in our own backyard. Families who once donated food to neighborhood food pantries are now standing in line waiting to fill their plates with food to get them through the day. While raising money for national charities is honorable, perhaps our clubs need to begin sending their funds down the street instead of across the continent.

Families Helping Families is an offshoot of the PTO and is a privately funded organization by members of the community. It provides things like winter coats, boots, dental work, and eyeglasses to community members who cannot afford them.

“I think we need to do whatever we can to increase awareness,” said Barb Plantz, social work department.

Plantz along with the entire Social Work Department, works to help struggling students at Central in partnership with Families Helping Families

“Before Families Helping Families, when students had no lunch money or needed assistance, the social workers provided Jewel gift cards and other things for students here in the building. However, we used to talk nickel and dime.” Plantz said.

We normally associate poverty and hunger with far off places like Asia and Africa. The realization that our next-door neighbors are people who may be suffering the effects of poverty is, in fact, a new one for many of us. Families Helping Families and the Social Work Department are doing what they can, but much more can be done.

“Around the holiday time families are taken care of, and there are a lot of people who are willing to give presents and give to other people. I am so grateful for everything this community has done this November and December with different drives, but then after it always, starts to decline. This is a problem 12 months of the year not just around the holidays,” Plantz said.

While this community is fortunate to have such generous people contributing to Families Helping Families, Central students should take initiative and focus on organizations that will benefit our community. Next time a group is holding a fundraiser, a donation should be made to Families Helping Families. Any student can help the cause and make a big difference.

 

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The news site of Hinsdale Central High School
Mending our own fences