Covering Living Expenses
Thousands of families in the Portland metro area are chronically teetering on the edge of financial crisis, even though one or more of the family members has a job.
The average American has $38,000 of debt (excluding mortgages), and 40% of Americans have less than $400 in savings.
In East Portland, where most BCS participants live, there are almost 20,000 families with incomes between $30,680 (the poverty level) and $77,000 (the median household income in Portland). This $77,000 is almost the exact amount that an MIT study has established as a “livable” household income. (Glasmeier, Amy K. Living Wage Calculator. 2020. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. livingwage.mit.edu.)
The gap between what these working families earn and what they would need in order to reasonably “get by” is an additional 25% of their current income. Adding debt and minimum payments to the equation only makes the gap more difficult. For these families, every penny counts.
Families living below a “living wage” are at a higher risk for:
- Stress on marriages and other family relationships
- Growing credit card debt
- Hopelessness for the future
- Unforeseen emergency expenses having the potential to tip the household into an economic disaster (medical issues, car problems, etc.)
- The constant threat of foreclosure, eviction, or bankruptcy
Savings and Debt
Sustainability through Redistribution
Every day, restaurants, grocery stores, and other food suppliers have thousands of pounds of surplus food and other items. For any number of reasons, these surplus items cannot always be sold and corporations need to redistribute them.
Birch Community Services:
- Keeps millions of pounds of surplus product (from 250+ community partners) from entering landfills
- Provides complimentary pick-up of items from corporations
- Redistributes products to families in need
- 600+ families weekly in Birch’s Sustainable Families Program
- 25,000+ individuals through 70 other nonprofits and food pantries in the Portland-metro area
- Saves 250+ corporations thousands of dollars in disposal fees