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On his fascinating blog, The Daily Yonder, Bill Bishop reported yesterday that “newly released figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that 13.2% of Americans were living in poverty in 2008, the highest rate since 1997.”

Perhaps that increased percentage is unsurprising, given the economic downturn. Nonetheless, it’s a saddening and galvanizing reminder that we have a long way to go as a country when it comes to substantively addressing poverty (a leading social determinant of health).

But by the same token, it’s a reminder that there are opportunities all around us to serve and empower communities whose circumstances are grim.

Looking to heed that calling this Thanksgiving? Visit Serve.gov and type in your location; you’ll be given a list of community-based organizations in your area that could use your help.

Want to support emerging leaders who have committed themselves to delivering high-impact service to communities in need year-round? Visit our Giving Opportunities page — your donation will support Schweitzer Fellows in addressing inequalities that, as Bishop’s post shows, are right here in all of our own backyards.

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