Poverty: 'If I don't see it, it doesn't exist' - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Poverty: 'If I don't see it, it doesn't exist'

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Donations given to Moving Mountains Donations given to Moving Mountains
Moving Mountains founder, Martha Palmer Bowden Moving Mountains founder, Martha Palmer Bowden
DOCO Schools homeless liaison, Marion Stevens DOCO Schools homeless liaison, Marion Stevens

When driving around the streets of Albany its not uncommon to come across an someone holding up a sign, asking for help.

"And we have a tendency to put those blinders up and say 'If I don't see it, it doesn't exist," Martha Palmer, Moving Mountains founder said. 

In 2011, a report done by the U.S. Census Bureau showed nearly 15% of families were living just below the poverty line. To put that in perspective, that's a family of 4 bringing in roughly $22,000 annually. And as for individuals living under similar circumstances, their numbers were even higher, hitting 19% and earning half.

The organization's focus is to help those who are affected by poverty, ways to get back on their feet. Palmer feels people shouldn't stereotype, it can happen to anyone.

"We've assisted a lady who had 4 children and didn't have a washer and she was having to lug things 2 miles to a laundry mat," Palmer said. "That's the kind of things that we don't think about."

Moving Mountains operates purely on donations and supplies people with anything from appliances to something as simple as a toothbrush. Palmer says 2 years ago Albany had over 880 homeless per capita and since continues to grow.

For Dougherty County Schools homeless liaison, Marion Stevens, poverty is a subject she knows all too well. She was once a single mother, raising 5 children.

"If God put people in my path to break the cycle with me, it's only right that I give back."

She assists over 600 families in the system with job searches, GEDs, school supplies and even paves a path for student graduation.

"I love it. It's a big job but at the end of the day if you save one child you know you fee like you've accomplished something."

A goal that both Palmer and Stevens will work endlessly for.

 

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