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Zakat Foundation in the USA
Officially, 45 million people live below the poverty line in the United States, including 16.4 million children. While the official poverty rate is around 15%, some estimates place the real poverty rate much higher at around 20% or even 25-30%. Despite its status as the wealthiest country per capita, high unemployment, underemployment, and skyrocketing inequality continue to cripple the country. Working poor families technically live above the poverty line, yet struggle to afford adequate food, education or health care. Some observers argue that what was once called the “middle class” has been largely hollowed out in America.
In addition to neglected urban areas, poverty flourishes in other forgotten pockets of America. The South is the poorest region in the United States. Appalachia and the states of Arkansas and Mississippi have poverty rates much higher than the national average. The remote locations of the Native American reservations severely stifle the economic viability of those communities and their access to quality basic services.
Zakat Foundation of America works in urban areas where access to healthcare, education, and healthy food is limited. ZF provides backpacks and school supplies for children in needy communities, and, through its Chicago and Delaware community centers, ZF offers social services including family and marriage wellness, psychiatric guidance, seminars, workshops, and cultural programs designed to lift up downtrodden communities.
Sources: UN Stats | World Bank | Pew Research Center