The number of Americans living in poverty is at its highest level in 51 years with 17.4 million households reporting a struggle to put enough food on the table. In addition, some 49.9 million Americans are without health insurance.
“In this economy there are so many new faces of poverty - people who never thought they would need help,” says Hal Donaldson, president of Convoy of Hope. “Because of those needs, we are launching The Convoy of Hope, a 50-state tour uniting communities to provide local, lasting solutions to neighbors in need.”
Kicking off May 12 in Dallas, this unprecedented $50 million, multi-year tour is uniting local businesses, non-profits, churches, medical communities and government agencies to provide a “poverty-free” day to neighbors battling long-time or first-time poverty. At each stop, The Convoy of Hope will provide an average $1 million of goods and services in a single day to people in poverty. Unique to this effort is the neighbors-helping-neighbors approach to providing immediate and long-term community solutions to poverty that will last long after The Convoy of Hope trucks roll onto the next city.
“Most people come for the food, but we know that poverty impacts every facet of life,” says Donaldson, who himself grew up poor after a family tragedy. “That’s why we work with communities up to a year in advance of an outreach event to offer job, housing and medical assistance, clothing, haircuts, family portraits and even a carnival for the children. We treat those in need as ‘honored guests’ in a festive atmosphere of hope.”
The tour will include on-site medical services, including dental and breast cancer screenings in select cities, will be among the most critical services provided since one-sixth of the U.S. population is uninsured.