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The River Fund's mission "to feed and empower those we serve to move beyond the lines of poverty" encompasses food and non-food needs of people living under constant 'pressure of relentless material hardships'—which is now recognized as a better way to understand what "poverty" means in our society. People need the basic necessities of food, shelter and a sense of self-dignity. The circumstances that create persistent shortages of critical resources in people's lives and cause them to face episodes of acute deprivation vary dramatically—ranging from the obvious, such as lack of sufficient income, to the overwhelming, like poor health or severe work-limiting health conditions.
Unfortunately, according to a study produced by the Robin Hood Foundation and Columbia Population Research Center, some 53% of New Yorkers struggle with income poverty, severe material hardship, or health-related challenges—while 20% experience at least two forms of poverty-inducing disadvantage simultaneously.
Our programs are designed to help ameliorate this suffering, in a safe and supportive environment, by (1) supporting people with basic needs, and (2) empowering them with the tools and resources they need to fight back. As we do this, we support and affirm all people regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.