Some bad news to report tonight on the state of poverty right here in the tri-states.
A new study out of Chicago revealed that McDonough county has the eighth highest poverty rate in all of Illinois-- sitting at 20.3%
Ellen Sloan has been getting assistance from the Western Illinois Regional Council for nearly five years, and says it didn't come as a shock when she heard where McDonough County ranked.
"Does it surprise me? No. It just seems like how it's been going the last few years no matter how hard you work, it just seems to all go," said Sloan.
And Sloan isn't the only one who needs help.
Suzan Nash the executive director with the WIRC says they've seen an increase in people needing help, and says besides rising unemployment, there is another reason why McDonough county falls on the poverty list.
"We have people living out in the rural areas that are having economic hardships they don't have transportation in order to enable them to get to a larger populous area in order to get a job," said Nash.
Nash says the WIRC clothing center serves upwards of 4,000 people a year, and at their food pantry--
"Probably 5 or 6 years ago, we might see 10 families, in a day that we're open, and now on a day that we're open we might see 25-30 families," said Nash.
Nash says despite those high numbers, the organization isn't having any issues keep up with demand, which is good news for people like Sloan, who are thankful for the extra help.
"I don't know what I would have done when I came into town, they helped me and my children find a place to live and I really don't know what I would have done without them, I don't," said Sloan.
And the WIRC isn't the only organization feeling the strain. The Macomb Salvation army tells WGEM they served 250 more people this past year than they did in 2009.
WGEM also spoke with Macomb Superintendent Alene Reuschel who says 53% of students in the school district are now on free or reduced lunches, which she says is a significant increase.
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