Time and time I hear it, “there aren’t any poor people in Cedar Rapids”. Can I be so bold to tell you to drive on over to the SE side, yes… past 19th Street. It’s no Chicago, but poverty does exist.
I work with youth from this neighborhood and I have been in their homes, I have paid their bills, I have driven their parents to WIC appointments and taken them to the grocery store to make purchases on their food stamp cards. I know that inside these large old homes multiple families are crammed with little furniture and not enough beds. I have fed kids when they haven’t had anything to eat. I have prayed for them each time they have been evicted because rent can not be paid. I have spent time and energy tracking families down who don’t have homes and live from friend to friend and shelter to shelter. I have helped families to get clothing and school supplies. All of this because they can not afford it.
From our porch we can see the poverty in this community. People wander the streets looking for money, people pushing shopping carts up and down the road, children without shoes or coats. We have filled up gas tanks and provided food to our “neighbors”. All of this because they can not afford it.
Yes, some have jobs and some do not, and everyone has a story. But please don’t deny that there are people in this city who are in need.