What is poverty?
To live in poverty in Erie County is to live with insufficient and often poor quality food. It is to sleep in run down, unaffordable housing. It is on a daily basis to have to make difficult and painful decisions involving trade-offs, such as whether to pay the rent or feed the kids, pay the electric bill or go to the dentist, buy a bus pass or buy shampoo. To live in poverty is also to be at greater risk of poor health, family or neighborhood violence and a shorter lifespan. It is to be unable to participate fully in one’s community and greater society. And it is to suffer great depths of anxiety and emotional pain.
Why should you care about poverty?
Poverty has an impact on and cost to society as a whole, from greater demands on the healthcare and criminal justice systems, to diminished workplace and economic productivity, to harmful and unwholesome activities taking place throughout our county.
Helping People and Changing Lives for more than 50 Years!
More than fifty years have passed since GECAC was founded in 1965 in conjunction with President Johnson’s War on Poverty. While many of the programs that emerged from the War on Poverty are now taken for granted, Erie County would be unrecognizable if they had never been enacted: Head Start, Meals on Wheels, Area Agency on Aging, Upward Bound, Senior Centers, Weatherization, Foster Grandparents and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
Our economy and social fabric have changed significantly in the past 50 years. Demographic shifts, rising income inequality, and insufficient access to jobs and education pose new challenges.
Five ways to Take Action and help GECAC combat poverty:
- Volunteer for GECAC's Meals-on-Wheels, Head Start, Retired Senior Volunteer Program or the many other volunteer positions available.
- Invest in our work by donating to GECAC.
- Pledge to help end elder abuse.
- Spread the message about GECAC to your friends, family, co-workers and clients/customers. Messages can be placed in newsletters, email blasts, on marquees and Facebook and website posts.
- Learn more about poverty and the vital services GECAC provides.
Why Support GECAC?
Poverty is a complex and systemic problem and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Currently, government grants pay for the majority of the 60 programs that we operate. These grants offer very little flexibility in how the money may be used.GECAC’s Board of Directors feels that to make a significant impact on poverty in the next 50 years, GECAC will need to have the ability to react to a community crises and help families that fall through the cracks due to the lack of flexibility in grant funding.