Virginia child poverty level highest in history

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Unable to buy food, unable to provide shelter, unable to meet basic needs. A national report says more than a quarter million children in Virginia now live below the poverty line. It's the highest number the state has ever seen, and families are hurting. Experts blame the recession.

By the middle of most months, Catherine Burno's family is pinching pennies.

"I really just pray to keep it moving," Catherine said.

And counting on non-profits like Cap-Up for a hand-up.

"I've been looking for part time work to try to make ends meat, and that hasn't been coming through. You know, I get frustrated and depressed about it. Because, you know, the harder I try, I don't see myself getting anywhere," she said.

The grandmother supports anywhere from 6-12 people on her Social Security Check-- most of them children.

"Luxury; there's none of that, so just the basics. You know, we get by on the basics," said Catherine.

That's the case for thousands of families across Virginia living in poverty.

"It's barely subsistence level. That's barely enough for these families to survive in the current economy," said John Morgan, Executive Director of Voices for Virginia's Children.

Catherine does the best she can, but worries about the things her grandkids have to give up.

"They want things. They need things. They want what they see other kids with," she said.

"I want things, but we're having a difficulty getting things, so I'm just thankful what I got," said Chrishana Burno.

Chrishana is only 15, but she feels the burden of living in poverty.

"It's hard for kids but I think a lot of kids realize it's hard for grownups too to go work and offer and get food for them," Chrishana added.

And while they can't see a day things will get better, they say they live on faith.

And what makes this report even more frightening-- the number of families living so close to the poverty line. A lost job, a health emergency, or even a car accident could be all it takes to throw them into poverty.

Data for Virginia: and [PDF]

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