Lynchburg encourages community to participate in poverty challenge

Participants are expected to buy food with $35, make food last for a week

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Nakesha Moore is grocery shopping.

The mother of two is buying one week’s worth of food and only has $35 to do it.
Moore grew up in poverty.

“My mom worked two jobs and was really amazing. I didn’t know I was poor until I was in high school,” Moore said.

Her life changed a few years ago.

She has a better job, a new house and no longer falls under Lynchburg city’s 24 percent poverty rate.

The Listening, a non-profit organization, the city’s Bridges to Poverty Initiative and city leaders have started a Lynchburg-wide effort this week.

It’s called the Lynchburg Poverty Challenge.

Participants are expected to grocery shop with only $35 in their pockets and make the food last all week.

“This is an epidemic in our city. It’s a quarter of our population. For us not to deal with it as aggressively in the past, it’s a problem,” Gerald Griffin, vice chair and director of community engagement for the Listening, said.

“If you have not lived this life. If you’re not used to this. I don’t expect $35 to last you all week. I’m waiting for you to get to Wednesday or Thursday and realize that you’re out of food, out of money. Even if you’re able to go to the store, what about that person who can’t?” Moore said.

Moore, who is also an organizer of the challenge, said this is all an effort to get people who are fortunate to empathize with those in need and get things to change in the community.

“I want really, people to understand it can get better. If it can get better for me, it can get better for anyone. But then on the other side also understanding that poverty is not necessarily a choice, but that it’s going to take the community as a whole to work together to make things better,” Moore said.