Crate and Barrel Helps to Advance Neglected American Communities

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Poverty is when families and their children are unable to achieve a minimum, decent standard of living that allows them to be part of mainstream society. One component of being poor is material hardship. Although we are all taught that the essentials are food, clothing, and shelter, the reality is that the definition of basic material necessities varies by time and place. In developed countries like the U.S., it is generally agreed that being able to go to equipped schools and libraries are not just essential to modern living, but a part of life, yet not everyone in the States has access to these things.

50 associates from home furnishings retailer Crate and Barrel joined the Rebuilding Together Dallas affiliate to update the library and older-youth after-school area; create a new computer room for students; assemble new furniture; renovate the playground; repair a fence; paint and landscape. This commitment by Crate and Barrel’s staff has made a difference to the lives of the children and families served by the American Care Foundation/Academy (ACF). By providing these critical repairs and refurbishments, they have helped to provide a positive environment in which these children and families can succeed.

ACF addresses the social and economic needs of children in underprivileged communities while restoring and strengthening families. It supports families through education, assistance, and training aimed at providing children with the opportunities necessary to compete in our quickly changing world.  In 2012, Crate and Barrel began a three-year agreement with Rebuilding Together and has made both financial contributions as well as volunteers to build national projects that will provide critical repairs and energy-efficient upgrades for low-income homeowners and community centres.

Economic hardship and other types of deprivation can have profound effects on children's development and their prospects for the future, and on a nation as a whole. Low family income can hinder children's cognitive development and their ability to learn. It can contribute to behavioural, social and emotional problems. It can cause poor health in children too and those children at most risk are those who experience economic hardship when they are young. The negative effects of low income on young children are troubling in their own right, but they are also cause for concern because they are associated with difficulties later in life — dropping out of school, poor adolescent and adult health, and poor employment outcomes.

Stable, nurturing, and enriching environments in the early years help create a sturdy foundation for later school achievement, economic productivity and responsible citizenship. This is why this volunteering work by Crate and Barrel for the Rebuilding Together Dallas affiliate is crucial. It is not just helping to advance neglected communities; it is also ultimately helping to improve America’s national economy. Economists estimate that child poverty costs the U.S. $500 billion per annum; each year, child poverty reduces productivity and economic output by about 1.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP is the market value of all officially recognised final goods and services produced within a country annually). This loss should be stopped.

Photo Credit: 3BL