January 22, 2021

On today's show, Adrian and Ethan discuss the link between poverty and education. Later we bring you Part 2 of an interview with Dr. Dwight "Ike" Reighard, President & CEO of MUST Ministries, a nonprofit in the Atlanta area serving those in need.

Last week we talked about the rise in poverty since the pandemic. Complete data on COVID-19’s impact on poverty levels is not yet available but we do know that before the coronavirus hit, 11.9 million children under the age of 18 were living in poverty in 2018, according to the Census Bureau’s official poverty measure. Children made up one third — 31.1 percent — of those living in poverty.

Poverty and education are intricately linked. Education is a primary means of social mobility, that allows those born into poverty to rise in society and break the cycle. Meeting students' most basic needs, such as food and shelter, is essential for success at learning in school.

When students experience poor nutrition and diminished health practices, it's harder for them to listen, concentrate, and learn. Poor diets also affect behavior.

Children who grow up in low socioeconomic conditions typically have a smaller vocabulary than middle-class children do, which increases the risk for academic failure.

Poverty-stricken youth show higher rates of academic failure and an increased probability of grade retention. Children from poor families are twice as likely to repeat a grade, and they are about 10 times as likely to drop out of high school.

This brings us to the second part of our interview with MUST Ministries. If you missed the first part in last week's show, you can listen here.

Founded in 1971, MUST Ministries addresses the basic needs of individuals, families and children with facilities in the Cobb and Cherokee counties and programs in numerous other counties in Georgia. Their vision is restoring lives one person and one community at a time. Their all-inclusive programs cover food, housing, clothing, workforce development, Mercy Care Clinic and their Christmas Toy Shop. MUST and MUST Neighborhood Pantries give away an astounding ton of food a day to those in need. Since the pandemic, these numbers have grown to an astonishing 2 million pounds of food distributed since March. In 2019, they helped 33,000 people experiencing poverty – that number has jumped to an astonishing 178,000 since the pandemic began.

Bev had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the President & CEO Dr. Dwight “Ike” Reighard. Let’s listen to Part 2 of the interview…

We can always count on kids to see the issues and set out to make a difference.

7-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Helps Raise Thousands for Gifts to Give Hospitalized Kids

7-Year-Old Poppy Seller is a second grader in Fairfax County, Northern Virginia, who helped Inova Health Foundation raise thousands of dollars to buy toys for kids who are in the hospital this holiday season.

Poppy has a special appreciation for what those toys mean, because it wasn’t long ago that she was in the hospital herself. Playing with her LEGOs today, Poppy is the picture of health. But in the summer of 2019, she was just wrapping up treatment for leukemia at Inova Children's Hospital.

Even while a patient herself, Poppy and her mom would bring in donated toys to other children in the hospital, with Poppy making deliveries in a red wagon. During the holidays in 2019, with a bow in her newly regrown hair, Poppy and her siblings returned to the hospital, reuniting with staff and helping to deliver hundreds of LEGO sets donated by the community to Inova.

As an Ambassador for Inova, Poppy raised over $60,000 goal to supply toys not only at the holidays but throughout the year as part of what they're calling Poppy's Toy Express.