“A glance into poverty”

30% of Kent residents are below the poverty line and 13.1% of Portage County residents are below the poverty line, according to the census. The situation is dire in our local communities, not only because of the pandemic, but because that has increased the number of people who need help.  The lack of supplies such as food and housing along with the lack of income to support you and your family defines poverty. Poverty is something that affects most of the population and is a conversation we as a society like to avoid.  Being in poverty is seen as failing in life and the problem is that there is no

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When the system fails its students

Maple Woods Career Center is a local non-profit organization that supports adults who are trying to finish their education. This center works out of Ravenna and offers classes in Kent and Windham along with the Ravenna location. They work within the ASPIRE program, helping people get prepared for the General Education Development (GED) or HiSet test but also rebuilding their skills and teaching English as a second language.  Ryanne Locker · Laure Gauntner “It could be anybody, it could be male, female, young, old, how specific you want to go with it. Anybody can come back and get their diploma, or  just brush up on their skills or basic language

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Portage County Commissioners declare Racism a public health crisis

On Sept 11, the Portage County Commissioners declared racism a public health crisis in the county. The Portage County commissioners followed in the footsteps of six counties in Ohio, along with the Portage County Mental Health and Recovery Board, Kent City Health Department and the Portage County Democratic Party. “It declares racism a public health crisis. It says that our county is going to work in all the ways that we function as a county to promote equity, whether that be in hiring, purchasing, contracting or the policies that we promote,” Portage County Commissioner, Kathleen Clyde said. “We are also going to support, lift up and amplify organizations that are

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Low poverty areas in city of Akron overcome past struggles with funding

  A lack of funding and a long process of waiting keeps low poverty districts in the city of Akron from advancing at a steadily pace. Redlining, a term coined in the 1960s, dates back to the 1930s where based on someones ethnic background, race, or religion, they could be denied things such as financing, healthcare and living needs. In Akron, several areas are marked red and defined as “hazardous.” Ward 3, one of the poorest districts in the city of Akron, recently made positive changes to the community and continues to do so. “You really have to fight for those funds because, of course, there’s just not enough funds

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Portage County organizations provide food, diapers for low-income moms

Ashley Pamela was on track to go to the University of Toledo on a full-ride scholarship. She looked forward to joining a sorority and getting involved on campus. She finally felt her life and her future falling into place — and then she got pregnant. Pamela’s boyfriend at the time, unwilling to let his girlfriend move away to a different city, intentionally impregnated her. “He was like, yeah, so you’re just gonna have to stay here,” she said. Pamela considered aborting the fetus and continuing on with her life, but her family’s background of strict religious beliefs encouraged her to keep the baby. Although she lost her mom when she

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Portage County organizations work to feed the hungry

For Karen Carpenter, feeding herself, her husband and her grandson is no easy task. Carpenter, 65, lives in Freedom Township, Portage County, with her husband and her grandson. She’s been on disability for 13 years from a bad back that makes her unable to hold a full-time job, and her diabetic husband is recovering from an invasive heart surgery. “It’s hard with limited income to buy school clothes and school supplies, and different things he needs, then turn around and buy groceries,” she said. The couple receives assistance in the form of disability checks and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, commonly known as food stamps, but she said it’s

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Nowhere to live and little help available: Homeless in Portage County

  After years of working to help the homeless at the Board of Life Mission in Barberton, Ohio, Marie Bruster never thought she could become homeless herself. But when the Mission’s donation base declined, Bruster lost her job, and she was forced to live out of her car with her two children and their pet guinea pig. “It was just so cold and I was like, I can’t deal with this anymore,” Bruster said. “I just wanted to end it.” Bruster and her children, Brianna, 9, and Eric, 16, survived a week without a place to stay. When she saw a sign for the Center of Hope, a food service

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