In North Philadelphia, to save money, an elderly woman flushed her toilet every other time she used it. One man in North Philly hooked up a hose to the water main in his basement because the piping in his house had been stolen. Another was left with a hole in the side of his rowhouse after the city razed the house next door.
"What grips my gut is these kinds of things are still happening and we're not doing anything," said Ruth Birchett, 55, who also lives in North Philadelphia and who shared the three anecdotes in an interview yesterday.
On Saturday, Birchett will host a free workshop in North Philly to launch a local chapter of Results, a national organization that lobbies legislators to fight hunger and poverty.
"It's about trying to get them to champion the cause for people who are so caught up in their deprivation that they can't advocate or lobby for themselves," she said.
Birchett was introduced to Results in March, while volunteering for the Barack Obama campaign, and met Anna Aimbo, who works with the organization.
They started talking about micro-credit lending - or bank loans in relatively small amounts - which Birchett says can be an investment in a poor family's future.
"I got so excited, because I know that micro-credit lending is about helping poor people," Birchett said.