We all have a different life story. You can empathize with people of a similar background, but that would be impossible to do if the person comes from a completely different experience growing up.

If you grew up having all the resources you needed to be safe, being well-fed and having adequate housing, educational opportunities and significant work, how can you fully understand a family that lives in chaos, is hungry and lacks safe housing?

If you are living under this burden, then you are problem-solving day-to-day crises, and school or work are last on your list of priorities. Poverty is not just a financial status but also about a lack of other resources. If you have only been "poor" for a short time in your life, you cannot understand poverty.

According to DATA USA, 16.6 percent of our population in Cass County lives in poverty. U.S. Census Bureau shows only 56.3 percent of people in Cass County work.

It is not simply a matter of giving out money and finding jobs that is the solution. Many other long-term resources are needed to change the situation. I once spoke with a young, pregnant mom about her view of her future. She said her mom had become pregnant with her and lived in poverty and she assumed she was destined to repeat the process.

Thankfully, she found her way to our Home Visiting Program.

The Pine River-Backus Family Center is the resource center for our community. We are the hub for many programs designed to assist with covering basic needs and life beyond.

Want to help? Need help? The coffee pot is always on at our location on Barclay Avenue. Call 218-587-4292. Life can be a bowl of cherries or a dark hole.