Short strolls in Bath, Hornell and Corning will hopefully go far toward supporting Catholic Charities of Steuben County.
The agency’s second-annual "Walk A Mile in Their Shoes" fundraiser will take place Saturday, Sept. 11. It will be held simultaneously in the three Steuben communities that house Catholic Charities offices.
Walk sites are: Corning — Corning Community Bank, West Market Street; Bath — Pulteney Square; and Hornell — Center Street parking lot. The Corning walk is cosponsored by Corning Community Food Pantry, which is located at Catholic Charities’ Corning facility.
Registration is from 9 to 9:45 a.m., followed by welcoming remarks, and each walk begins at 10. For details on participating as either a walker or sponsor, or to make a donation, visit www.catholiccharitiessteuben.org.
Through these walks, Catholic Charities hopes to raise funds as well as awareness of poverty in Steuben County and how Catholic Charities works on behalf of the impoverished. Organizers pointed out some sobering facts related to local poverty:
- Children make up the highest segment of the population living in poverty. In Steuben County, one in five children lives in poverty.
- Fifty percent of all impoverished families in Steuben County are headed by a single female. The poverty rate for such families is five times that of married-couple families, even though more than 60 percent of these women are employed.
- Many families cannot buy other necessities after meeting their basic expenses for housing, transportation, food, health care and child care. Senior citizens living on fixed incomes also struggle to cover basic living expenses.
- Steuben County has one of the worst unemployment rates in New York state, ranking 56th out of 62 counties. And, the number of recently unemployed people served by Catholic Charities of Steuben County is increasing monthly.
- Thirty-nine percent of all those served by Catholic Charities of Steuben County earn an average of less than $10,000 a year, mostly from part-time minimum-wage jobs with no benefits.
- Many people living in poverty face such barriers as physical and mental disabilities and illness, lack of education and lack of job skills.
- Approximately 13 percent of all Steuben residents — 13,000 people — are living below the poverty guidelines, with many thousand more at or near those guidelines.
- Catholic Charities had a 45-percent increase in requests for rental assistance between 2008 and 2009.