SMILE celebrating 48 years of fighting poverty

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Every Thursday in May, SMILE Community Action agency has hosted meetings to bring awareness to poverty.

May is National Community Action month and SMILE is celebrating 48 years of fighting poverty.

SMILE Chief Financial Officer Brenda Foulcard, said, “in the united states the poverty level is about 14%, in Louisiana the poverty level is 19%.”

SMILE, the tri-parish leading anti-poverty agency, stands for St. Martin, Iberia and Lafayette parishes.

Their motto is people helping people.

“We’re the advocates for the poor,” said SMILE Program Resource Developer Hilda Wiltz, “We have to be speaking on their behalf.”

The agency is presenting a poverty series where residents can voice concerns and get answers.

“We’ve had the professionals here to speak on those things and from here we will build on the solutions to all of those questions,” said Wiltz

“I grew up in poverty, I know the challenges of poverty and I think often times there’s a misunderstanding,” said St. Martin Parish School Superintendent Lottie P. Beebe, “I have hope that we will move forward working together to improve our state.”

The final meeting will be held on Thursday, May 26, in Baton Rouge from 9am-3pm.

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