Town hall meeting addresses Poverty in Northeast Arkansas

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Thousands live in poverty across the United States and many of those are right here in Region 8.  Different topics, problems and solutions are part of the conversation that is getting started.  It is one thing to know there is a problem, it's something else entirely to sit down and deal with it and that's what this meeting is trying to accomplish.

"I see a lot of hunger.  That's a strong need in our community," said Rennell Woods, Jonesboro City Councilman and Executive Director of City Youth Ministries

This is the last of five town hall meetings being held in conjunction with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation who are working with a legislative task force to reduce poverty in the state.

"If we can get jobs to people, hopefully that can help them with their poverty to where they can go ahead and feed and clothe and have housing for themselves," said Christine Speakman.

"One thing we've learned is that people are concerned about this issue.  It's an issue that we live with day to day but we don't always talk about in direct ways," said Cory Anderson, Vice President of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

Rennell Woods said sees families and children who are in need everyday.

"We know that our parents and children here are really hurting and hopefully this meeting will truly show the real needs of our community," said Woods.

"There are a lot of issues that are going to come out to where maybe something can be done about it," said Speakman.

"People have similar ideas about how you solve poverty.  They want to connect education and economic opportunities.  They want to solve poverty at the community level," said Woods.

This meeting is about hope.  There is hope that by hearing the voices of those who often feel voiceless change will come.

"I just want everything that's being said here tonight to make a difference to change in law," said Jennifer Wooley.

"We really need to look at how we devise our state budget and be able to look at poverty," said Woods.

They will compile the information from all of the five town hall meetings and make a presentation to Governor Mike Beebe in October.

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