The key to solving a problem? Understanding it.
Listen to real stories about people living in poverty, learn the facts about poverty in the United States, understand the root causes, and — just as important — how people are helping themselves and others out of Poverty USA.
Some Quick Ways to Start Learning
- Tour Poverty USA: What’s life like living at the poverty line? Tour PovertyUSA and find out.
- Find a group: Find out today if there’s a group in your community working on the issue of poverty. Browse CCHD-funded groups on the Interactive Poverty Map.
- Take our Poverty Quiz: Take our Poverty Quiz and find out how much you know about poverty in America.
- Learn the facts: Do you know the real facts about poverty? Discover how many people are affected by poverty, and who they are.
- Read Stories of Hope: Read our Stories of Hope and learn how people are confronting poverty and finding hope with the help of CCHD-funded organizations.
- Visit the Poverty Map: Visit the Interactive Poverty Map and learn more about who lives in Poverty USA.
- Read a newsletter: CCHD publishes a quarterly newsletter. Read them here.
- Where is poverty? What are the ten states in America with highest state poverty rates?
- Go to a meeting: Attend neighborhood meetings and hearings on programs and policies.
- Where’s your state? Where does your state fall on the map of poverty?
- Look for news: Watch the local news. Read the papers. Look for stories about poverty in your community.
- Learn about local programs: Become aware of policies and programs in your area affecting poor and low-income families – including affordable housing, access to health care, public transportation and good quality education.
- Brush up on your numbers: Read through Poverty Facts. For data on America children in poverty, visit the National Center for Children in Poverty.
- See what the census says: Visit www.census.gov to select a state and get the facts on poverty from the U.S. Census Bureau.
How can you help?
There are lots of ways to take action. You can spread the word about poverty in the United States, advocate for change, find and support organizations in your community, give time or resources or contact local representatives.
Join our Action Network and we’ll send you updates on issues that impact people living in poverty along with opportunities to advocate.
Some Quick Ways to Start Acting
- Share this site with your friends on Facebook, help others get involved.
- Contact us. Have a good idea? A success story to share? A group that needs to know about CCHD? Contact us!
- Find a group in your area. Find and contact a self-help, community-based organization in your local area. Find a CCHD-funded group near you.
- Calculate your expenses. Calculate your living expenses and compare to the poverty line – could you live on the poverty amount?
- Write a letter. Write a letter to your newspaper editor or local government.
- Write to Congress. Write your congressman about poverty issues you care about.
- Support local business. Support a co-op, or a local or family-owned business in your community.
- Plan a helping vacation. Plan a vacation around a learning or helping experience.
- Take public transportation. Use public transportation whenever possible. Your support helps to insure that public transportation remains available for us all.
- Shop for good. Choose stores or services in your community that support local groups.
- Volunteer. Volunteer for a group that assists low-income people. See if there’s a locally funded CCHD group near you.
- Make a donation. Find a CCHD-funded group near you, or donate to the general fund of Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
- Share your experience. Are you a volunteer? Find a way to share with others what you’ve learned about how to address poverty.
- Share your interest. Talk with others. Let people in your community know about your interest. They can lead you to new opportunities.
- Choose your issues. Is there a particular issue that speaks to you? Childcare? Housing? Computer training? Pick your issue and concentrate on that.
- Relieve hunger. Hunger is a year-round issue, and forces families to choose between food and other expenses. Donate goods to pantries.
- Share your talents. Share your time and talents. Be candid about how much time you want to spend and how much you can do. It’ll make you a better volunteer.
- Start a food drive. Start a food drive in your community. Talk to your local organization, the group you want to sponsor. Talk to your local market too. They may have programs already in place that your organization can adopt.
- Send a student to college. Assist low-income students to find college funding, through sources in your community.
- Find out what people need. Call the organizations or agencies in your area for a list of their most wanted items. Distribute the list to family and friends to join the effort.
- Hold an event. Raise funds for a self-help program through a community event; a benefit concert; a walk-a-thon; or a collective yard sale, then donate the proceeds to a self-help group.
- Choose your words wisely. Using derogatory terms and/or making generalizations about people who are living in poverty works against people who are trying to get back on their feet. Instead, talk with people who are struggling and listen to their stories.
- Show respect. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. Be respectful of people’s occupation and considerate of all types of workers we encounter every day.
It takes all of us together to make a difference.
Do you have something to say about living in Poverty USA, or finding a way out? Share your ideas and commitment with your friends and community.
How to connect with us to donate:
You can make a direct donation to the “Catholic Campaign for Human Development” (cash, check, or money order).
Send your gift to:
Ralph McCloud, Director of CCHD
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 4th Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20017-1194
All donations to CCHD are tax deductible; a receipt for tax purposes will be provided. If you have questions, email us.
Each November on the weekend before Thanksgiving, most dioceses throughout the United States take up the national CCHD collection. Help promote the CCHD collection in your diocese.
Reflect on poverty, pray for solutions.
“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God” (St. John Damascene, CCC 2559). Prayer and meditation can open our eyes to our responsibilities and our hearts to solutions.”
Millions of people throughout the United States and the world are struggling. Please help us pray for their well-being.
Reflections on Poverty
- Luke 3:11 – “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.”
- “Come, Holy Spirit, and open our hearts, minds, and souls to your presence. Grace us with the strength to follow the examples of Jesus. Like Jesus, may the Spirit provide us with a voice to cry out for justice for the poor. Remind us that what we do to the least of those among us, we do to you.” Answering the Voice of the Spirit, The Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
- Matthew 25:40 – “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
- “Consequently, the promotion of justice is at the heart of a true culture of solidarity. It is not just a question of giving one’s surplus to those in need, but of helping entire peoples presently excluded or marginalized to enter into the sphere of economic and human development.” Pope John Paul II, World Day of Peace Message 2001
- Round Two: 2 Samuel 22:36 – You have given me your saving shield, and your help has made me great.
- “We are called in a special way to serve the poor and vulnerable; to build bridges of solidarity among peoples of differing races and nations, language and ability, gender and culture.” US Catholic Bishops, Communities of Salt and Light
- Deuteronomy 15:11 – The needy will never be lacking in the land; that is why I command you to open your hand to your poor and needy kinsman in your country.
- Psalm 112:9 – Lavishly they give to the poor; their prosperity shall endure forever; their horn shall be exalted in honor.
- Micah 6:8 – “Act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God.”
- “America first proclaimed its independence on the basis of self-evident moral truths. America will remain a beacon of freedom for the world as long as it stands by those moral truths which are the very heart of its historical experience. And so America: If you want peace, work for justice. If you want justice, defend life. It you want life, embrace the truth, the truth revealed by God.” Pope John Paul II, St. Louis, Missouri, January 1999
- “Catholicism does not call us to abandon the world but to help shape it. This does not mean leaving worldly tasks and responsibilities but transforming them…Social justice and the common good are built up or town down day by day in the countless decisions and choices we make.” US Bishops, Everyday Christinity
- “Our world is entering the new millennium burdened by the contradictions of an economic, cultural and technological progress which offers immense possibilities to a fortunate few, while leaving millions of others not only on the margins of progress but in living conditions far below the minimum demanded by human dignity.” Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, Apostolic Letter at the Close of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, January 6, 2001
- “Christians must learn to make their act of faith in Christ by discerning his voice in the cry for help that rises from this world of poverty.” Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, Apostolic Letter at the Close of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, January 6, 2001
- “For the Catholic faithful, the commitment to build peace and justice is not secondary but essential.” Pope John Paul II, World Day of Peace Message 2000
- “Being a believer means that one lives a certain way: walking with the Lord, doing justice, loving kindness, and living peaceably among all people. Christian discipleship means practicing what Jesus preached.” US Bishops, Everyday Christianity
- Sirach 18:25 – “Remember the time of hunger in the time of plenty, poverty and want in the day of wealth.”
- “We are a very diverse community of faith racially, ethnically, economically, and ideologically. This diversity should be respected, reflected and celebrated in our social ministry.” US Catholic Bishops, Communities of Salt and Light
- Deuteronomy 15:7 – If one of your kinsmen in any community is in need in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor close your hand to him in his need.
- “It is a sign of hope that, despite many serious obstacles, initiatives for peace continue to spring up day by day, with the generous cooperation of many people. Peace is a building constantly under construction.” Pope John Paul II, World Day of Peace Message 2000
- Proverbs 19:17 – He who has compassion on the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his good deed.
- “…Radical changes in world politics leave America with a heightened responsibility to be for the world an example of a genuinely free, democratic, just and humane society.” Pope John Paul II, St. Louis, Missouri, January 1999
- Psalm 41:2 – Happy are those concerned for the lowly and poor; when misfortune strikes, the LORD delivers them.
- “From salvation history we learn that power is responsibility: it is service, not privilege. Its exercise is morally justifiable when it is used for the good of all, when it is sensitive to the needs of the poor and defenseless.” Pope John Paul II, St. Louis, Missouri, January 1999
- Proverbs 22:2 – Rich and poor have a common bond: the LORD is the maker of them all.
- Sirach 40:24 – A brother, a helper, for times of stress; but better than either, charity that rescues.
- Lamentations 3:56 – You heard me call, “Let not your ear be deaf to my cry for help!”