PEMISCOT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - According to the group Main Street, more than 15% of the American population lived in poverty in 2010. That's the highest percentage since 1993, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This means more than 46 million people fell below the poverty line, defined as $22,314 for a family of four.
In Missouri, Pemiscot County has the highest rates. According to this new research, 31.3% of people there are living in poverty.
"Been trying to find a job, ain't been able to find one," said 24-year-old Tiffany Martin.
Martin wants a better life. The main reasons, her two children. "They're my babies," said Martin.
Martin lives in a home in Caruthersville with eight other people. They live together because it's cheaper.
"I would like to get our own house," said Martin.
Tiffany Martin says her family is living in poverty. Her husband works mowing lawns. They take it week by week.
"I get food stamps, but my check got cut out," said Martin.
The Caruthersville Ministerial Alliance is one of many groups hoping for change.
"We want to strengthen people, get them out of poverty, and out of situations they are in right now," said Jim Pilcher-President, Caruthersville Ministerial Alliance.
The alliance is made up of 11 churches from many different denominations. Their number one goal is to touch spiritual needs, but to also meet physical needs.
They help people with things like food, gas, and shelter. Pastor Pilcher says he too once struggled, and feels he's a minister in Pemiscot County for a reason.
"I love it here, love the people," said Pilcher. "I've learned poverty is more of a mind set than a quality of life."
Tiffany Martin wants a better life for her, and her family. "My dream job is I want to work at a nursing home because I love old people."
Martin says she does not have a high school diploma, but hopes to earn her GED.
She promises to contact Heartland News when she accomplishes her goals, so we can share that story of success.