News Flash: A Poverty Program That Actually Works

What could you buy with $62.50? A tank of gas, an outfit, a few lattes at Starbucks? For one family in Tulsa, Okla., that amount of money changed their lives. Dawn and Mike Ferrill used to support their four kids on just $300 a month. Then they learned about a program that matches, dollar for dollar, any money they could save to buy a home or start a business.

Somehow, the Ferrills figured out how to put away $62.50 a month... no small task for a family that could not even afford to buy clothing from a thrift store. But they managed to do it, and after a while they used their savings and the matching funds to buy a fancy ad in the phone book to promote their struggling appliance business. Within a year they tripled their monthly income. Greg Allen tells their story as part of an NPR series on escaping poverty.

I found the piece uplifting. At the same time it made me uneasy. I suddenly became conscious of how much money I blithely throw away each week on things that amount to very little.

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