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April 28, 2015
Nearly 13 percent of all children in Larimer County live in poverty.
That's a statistic from the latest Kids Count in Colorado report released last month by Colorado Children's Campaign. Some may point out that 13 percent is less than the state average of nearly 17 percent. While I am appreciative that children in Larimer County are faring better than many children in other parts of Colorado, I can't help but be dismayed by that number.
Let's do the math. 13 percent is one in every eight children. It equates to more than 8,600 children living right here in our community.
To put that number in context, it means that a family of three would need to have an annual income of less than $15,530 to be considered in poverty. How many of us would be able to make it with such limited financial resources?
Yet, the percentage of children living in poverty does not tell the whole story.
What I found even more telling was the number of children in Larimer County who are eligible for free and reduced lunch, approximately 16,000 students. That number includes children living in poverty, but also those living in households with income above the Federal Poverty Guidelines that struggle from paycheck-to-paycheck to make ends meet.
All of that translates to one in four children in Larimer County who must face the daily challenges of living poor. Too often these challenges prevent our children from reaching their full potential, which fuels the poverty rate of the future.
We must do better for our children.
These children are more than a statistic. They are our neighbors. They are our children's and grandchildren's classmates, teammates, and friends. They represent the next generation of our workforce and the livelihood of our community. And each one of them deserves a future filled with promise and opportunity.
It is up to all of us to help all of our children escape the burden of poverty and reach their full potential. To do so, we must help kids and families succeed every step of the way, from cradle to career and beyond.
In Larimer County, we don't sit on the sidelines while our fellow community members struggle. We invite you to join us in tackling this challenge. Whether you volunteer, donate, or spread the word and share your voice, your support makes a difference for local children and families today and for years to come. Learn more about how you can get involved at www.uwaylc.org
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County