Hundreds of Waynesboro public school children are on the free and reduced lunch program. Two groups in the city are joining forces to cut poverty by starting a program called Community Action.
Shenandoah Valley Social Services Director, Elizabeth Middleton, says the public would be shocked to know how many people in the area are considered to be living in poverty.
She says, "There are many people in poverty in this area, and this is one of the largest federal and state programs to help ameliorate poverty at its root causes."
Middleton is teaming with the Director of the Office on Youth, Carol Blair, to start Community Action. She says most localities in the state already have the program.
"Community Action has been in Virginia since the 1960s, and was started as a part of civil rights legislation with the economic opportunity act of 1964," says Middleton.
Roughly $300,000 will be allocated to special groups, like senior services and teen pregnancy prevention.
Blair says, "This will be a way to maybe work with them on some budgeting programs or food and nutrition programs, child care, maybe helping with other material assistance."
Blair stresses the point of the program is to bring in new money from the state to give to existing programs. Localities won't have to pay any additional fees.
"I think a lot of the services that will be developed or funded through Community Action will be targeted at, for lack of a better phrase, the working poor," says Blair. "People that are working and are unable to make ends meet."
Middleton and Blair plan to go before the city council again in a few weeks to see if the council will pass the resolution to create Community Action.