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Crisis in Stark County: Local nonprofits say alarming child poverty rates need to be addressed

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Posted at 6:56 AM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 13:26:59-05

CANTON, OH — Local nonprofits say child poverty has reached an all-time high in Stark county.

With the help of research from the Center for Community Solutions, the United Way of Greater Stark County and the Stark Community Foundation released a report showing one in four children in throughout the county live in poverty.

Officials with all three nonprofits discussed the challenges and "Protecting Stark's Future" during a webinar.

“That report ‘Strengthening Stark’ was very much a call to action. It started out as an initiative. It has become a movement across the county. I’m very pleased to see the progress that is being made across the county,” said Mark Samolczyk, Stark Community Foundation President.

The groups are recommending seven steps to change, including things like customizing plans to attack child poverty in specific neighborhoods, reducing disparities, investing more in helpful resources and raising income for families.

Reports show a family of four needs an income $66,876 to survive in stark county. Yet, the median income there is $50,777.

“Both race and place play a role. Decades of population loss has hollowed out communities in Stark County and across northeast Ohio,” said Emily Campbell, Associate Director at the Center for Community Solutions.

The groups are now hoping the community, the government and other nonprofits step up and help make change.

“The problem is so large and complex that one agency cannot tackle it alone,” Campbell explained.