Poverty has been on the rise in America’s suburbs. A story in The New York Times on Monday explained:
The poor population in America’s suburbs — long a symbol of a stable and prosperous American middle class — rose by more than half after 2000, forcing suburban communities across the country to re-evaluate their identities and how they serve their populations.
The increase in the suburbs was 53 percent, compared with 26 percent in cities. The recession accelerated the pace: two-thirds of the new suburban poor were added from 2007 to 2010.
“The growth has been stunning,” said Elizabeth Kneebone, a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution, who conducted the analysis of census data. “For the first time, more than half of the metropolitan poor live in suburban areas.”
As a result, suburban municipalities — once concerned with policing, putting out fires and repairing roads — are confronting a new set of issues, namely how to help poor residents without the array of social programs that cities have, and how to get those residents to services without public transportation. Many suburbs are facing these challenges with the tightest budgets in years.
The East Windsor-Hightstown area is no exception. That’s where Rise: A Community Partnership comes in. The nonprofit helps find emergency shelter, runs a food pantry and thrift store, and now offers hot meals to those who find themselves on the losing end of the economy.
About 350-400 families from the area use the pantry, a number that has been increasing in recent years. And that makes it difficult to keep the pantry fully stocked.
So Patch is jumping in to help. In conjunction with ShopRite of East Windsor and Rise, we are holding a food drive this weekend, Oct. 29 and Oct. 30. ShopRite is providing a box truck and space in its parking lot, and Patch and Rise will provide the manpower. What we need from the community is food.
Our challenge to the community is this: Stuff the truck. Bring your nonperishable food items to ShopRite between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and help us help Rise help our neighbors.