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Poverty Still Impacting Alaska's Kids And Their Families

Published On: Jun 24 2013 06:09:47 PM AKDT   Updated On: Jun 25 2013 12:06:21 AM AKDT
Poverty Still Impacting Alaska's Kids And Their Families

Despite the summer vacation for many students, the need to feed struggling families remains ongoing for many Anchorage organizations.

Approximately 27,000 Alaskan children live in poverty and 61,000 live in households where high housing costs are a concern, according to the 2013 Kids Count Report released Monday.

"Poverty is enemy number one," said Virgene Hanna, who is director of Kids Count Alaska. "We have an increased percentage of families who spend 30% of their income on housing, so if your spending 30% on housing, you don't have a lot left.”

The Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage collects the data that is released in the annual report. The study shows children in Alaska fare better than the rest of the country on the issue of poverty, but the state’s high cost of living contributes to poverty. It also reveals that a lot of families depend on seasonal employment and housing remains expensive.

"We know that there is more than 20 thousand kids who are food vulnerable," said Don Burrell, executive director for the Children’s Meal Mission. "Of course, you have to figure out what you’re going to do - either you’re going to provide a roof over your head or you’re going to eat, but you’re going to be homeless."

There are several organizations that help fill the void, including Children's Lunchbox and Children’s Meal Mission. The latter group serves 400 meals a day to kids in Mountain View and Spenard.

Beans Café runs Children's Lunchbox and has 20 sites across the city, serving serve 800 meals a day.

"Many kids depend on that hot meal every day at school and when summer rolls around they don't have that available to them in many sites," said Beans Cafe executive director Lisa Sauder.

For ways you can help and for more on the Kids Count Alaska Report, click here.

Contact Corey Allen-Young