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Forum planned on children, poverty

Feb. 16, 2014 @ 10:55 PM

HUNTINGTON — In West Virginia, nearly one in four children lives in poverty, a statistic the Our Children, Our Future campaign hopes to reduce through community projects and legislative policy.

The campaign is hosting a regional forum to discuss legislative platform issues from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at Enslow Park Presbyterian Church, 1183 Enslow Blvd., Huntington, according to a news release.

The Our Children, Our Future campaign is a statewide coalition of more than 170 groups focused on taking concrete actions toward ending childhood poverty in West Virginia.

West Virginia’s child poverty rate is at a 40-year high, with more than half of the state’s children receiving free or reduced lunch in schools.

“In the last 40 years, we have slashed senior poverty by nearly 75 percent, from 39.2 to 10.3 percent,” said Carey Jo Grace, Central/Western Region community organizer for WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition and Our Children, Our Future Campaign, in a press release. “Now, it is time to do the same for our kids.”

The forum will focus on protecting funding for family-support programs; expanding in-home family education programs/early childhood; increasing the minimum wage/Earned Income Tax Credit; addressing kids’ physical activity and recess; creating a future fund; and substance abuse prevention and recovery initiatives.

Those issues were targeted as a result of approximately 75 community meetings, more than 200 stakeholder meetings and a statewide vote on priorities. In addition to those issues, the forum will also feature discussions about the recent water crisis.

For more information or to RSVP for the forum, contact Laura Gilliam at 304-523-8929, ext.104, or laura.gilliam@unitedwayrivercities.org.

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