Helping the less fortunate

Help us to help others.

The Daily News 26th Annual People Helping People Christmas Food, Gift and Fund Drive is under way.

This annual campaign helps the less fortunate in the Dickinson-Iron County area.

We collect food, gifts and money, and turn these items over to the local St. Vincent de Paul Stores, and the local Salvation Army Chapter.

Volunteers there distribute the goods to local needy individuals and families during this holiday season.

Yes, this is America – the richest nation on Earth. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone has too much money.

Hunger may not be as noticeable in the United States as it is in some Third World countries, but it does exist – even in the Dickinson-Iron County area.

In fact, charities say more people have come to them for help this season because of the slow economy.

Nationally and locally, food pantries are struggling to accommodate the increasing number of Americans who need help.

Sure, we all see the shoppers busy picking out presents and gifts for the holidays.

What we don’t always see is the invisible population, the homeless and hungry living amongst us.

In fact, the number of poor people in America is 3 million higher than the official count, encompassing 1 in 6 residents due to out-of-pocket medical costs and work-related expenses, according to a revised census measure.

The new measure is aimed at providing a fuller picture of poverty. Put in place two years ago by the Obama administration, it generally is considered more reliable by social scientists.

Based on the revised formula, the number of poor people in 2012 was 49.7 million, or 16 percent. That exceeds the record 46.5 million, or 15 percent, that was officially reported in September.

The latest numbers come as more working-age adults picked up low-wage jobs in the slowly improving economy but still struggled to pay living expenses. Americans 65 and older had the largest increases in poverty under the revised formula, from 9.1 percent to 14.8 percent, because of medical expenses such as Medicare premiums, deductibles and other costs not accounted for in the official rate.

Among the findings, the Census Bureau said:

– Adults of working ages 18-64 saw an increase in poverty from 13.7 percent based on the official calculation to 15.5 percent, due mostly to commuting and child care costs.

-Child poverty declined from 22.3 percent to 18 percent under the new measure. Under both measures, children still remained the age group most likely to be living in poverty.

-By race, Hispanics and Asians saw higher rates of poverty, 27.8 percent and 16.7 percent respectively. African-Americans saw a modest decrease, from 27.3 percent to 25.8 percent. Among non-Hispanic whites, poverty rose from 9.8 percent to 10.7 percent.

With the stagnant economy, more people need help getting food for their families and toys for their children as the holiday season approaches.

Locally, St. Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army and others are being flooded with requests from agencies, individuals and families seeking help.

We are seeking your help to help others in need.

The Daily News asks area residents to donate food, gifts or cash to this worthy cause.

Non-perishable food donations may be dropped off at our office at 215 E. Ludington St. in Iron Mountain

All local donations will be used locally.

That means all food and cash donations collected in the Iron Mountain-Kingsford area will be given to the Iron Mountain St. Vincent de Paul Store and to the Iron Mountain Salvation Army.

Food donations should be non-perishable, and gifts should be new, unwrapped, suitable for a child or adult.

Gift certificates and cash donations will be used to purchase perishable items, such as turkeys, hams, produce and baked goods.

Checks should be made out to:

People Helping People,

P.O. Box 460

Iron Mountain, MI 49801

We will accept contributions through Thursday, Dec. 19.

The Daily News also will help publicize efforts by other groups and organizations that help others during this holiday season.

This is the season of giving. Take an active part in helping the less fortunate.

It is the true meaning of the season.