According to the report, the poverty rate in Likkin County is 10%. However, the rate is probably much higher due to certain factors.
LICKING COUNTY, Ohio — ALICE (Asset Limited, Limited Income, Employee) Report 2023 considers people who earn above the federal poverty level, but not enough to afford the essentials where they live.
ALICE households and poor families are forced to make difficult choices, such as choosing between quality childcare or paying the rent—choices that have long-term consequences not only for their families, but for everyone.
The data show that Licking County, home to Intel’s $20 billion semiconductor plant soon, has a 10% poverty rate. When the numbers used in the ALICE report are taken into account, the poverty rate is as high as 27%. Ohio’s poverty rate is 13%, which is equal to the national average.
The ALICE report looks at household income versus household needs. in ohio 38% of households in 2021 the income was below the ALICE threshold. Of the 20 most common occupations in Ohio in 2021, 70% paid less than $20 an hour, according to the report.
At Licking Valley High School in Newark, you’ll find a food pantry filled with food for hungry students.
“It started probably 10 years ago. A group of teachers decided we had kids in need and we needed to figure out how to support them,” said Courtney Lichtenhauer, school counselor at Licking Valley High School.
Organizers say many of the families are single-income, but it also caters to two-income families. Here children get more than beans and tuna. Sometimes it’s a lot more.
“For a teenager to say, ‘Hey, I’m hungry,’ or ‘I need deodorant,'” says Danielle Hammond, the school secretary at the high school.
“So we used the pantry to run to WalMart to buy an air mattress and sheets and send them home with an air bed so they have a place to sleep that night,” said Shawna Garver, who is also a school counselor at Licking Valley. Secondary school.
Everything else on the pantry shelves is useless: from groceries and shampoo to washing powder.
“Now we serve 26 families a month. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider that there are about 525 students in our building every day, that’s probably about 50 students who get takeout. So we feed about 10% of our students,” Garver said.
The school said 40% of its students qualify for free and reduced lunch, but provides every student with a free meal so no one goes hungry.
“You see things on the news about inflation and people struggling for jobs. We see the faces behind it,” Hammond said.
A washer and dryer were recently added to the utility room so the kids can have clean clothes. There is a fridge and freezer for fresh fruit and meat.
“We had families that were going to have their utilities shut off,” Garver says.
Ten years ago, the pantry started in a closet. Now it has grown into something more.
“It’s grown into something we couldn’t have imagined 10 years ago,” Lichtenhauer said.
As more families struggle to make ends meet, those working in the pantry say they may need more space in the future, so kids who come to class don’t come with empty stomachs.
“At the end of the day, we’re here for these kids,” Hammond said.
Anyone interested in making a donation can contact School District Superintendent Dr. Scott Beerys at firstname.lastname@example.org.