Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Chamber of Commerce

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Chamber of Commerce had a remarkable luncheon today. The topic for the annual legislative luncheon was poverty - actually the luncheon was titled "Improving Economic Opportunity in Our Community", but the topic was poverty - with a presentation by Buz Cox and Kathy Ralston, heads of social service in the city and county. Buz and Kathy presented a sobering appraisal of the plight of the working poor in our community, and used the hypothetical example of a couple, each making $11 an hour, with two young kids, and how they could not afford housing, transportation, food, and health care on this income, much less school supplies, clothing, insurance, recreation and all the other things that probably everyone reading this blog takes for granted.

Hats off to Kathy Train - Chair of the Chamber and Director of the United Way, and Tim Hulbert, Chamber President, for making this issue a priority. Having the Chamber roll up their sleeves on this is incredible. Discussion ensued about how businesses can join local governments in helping, especially with summer youth employment initiatives.

And the irony that this luncheon was held in Glenmore - an affluent, gated community - must have been obvious to everyone present.