Northfield Reads 2016

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Northfield Reads is excited to announce its program for 2016.  Everyone is invited to read $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, and join in various events to help us understand its message.

Northfield Reads aspires to engaging the community in lively discussions to assist us in understanding the diversity among.  This year, the focus is on the working poor and those living in poverty. $2 a Day chronicles the stories of several families who are living in this extreme poverty in a way that is engaging, informative, and inspiring.  At the same time, it weaves through these stories information about the complex social, political, and economic factors that underlie this situation.

The number of Americans who are struggling to survive on just $2 a day (about the cost of a gallon of gas and less than a latte) has more than doubled in the last twenty years, placing 1.5 million households and 3 million children in this extreme economic situation.  This is about one of every 25 families with children, a startling statistic. 

Here in Northfield we do not have statistics based on the concept of $2/day.  The statistics that we do have indicate that low income households are increasing, with 15% of Northfield living in poverty. 

“Few families in $2-a-day poverty are chronically disconnected from the workforce.  Rather, most of them are workers who fall into extreme poverty only when they can’t manage to find or keep a job. . . . Yet even when working full-time, these jobs often fail to lift a family above the poverty line. . . . About one in four jobs pays too little to lift a family of four out of poverty.”  ($2 a Day)

Northfield Reads is offering four events again this year. 

·      $2 Dinner:  March 10, 6:00 pm, United Church of Christ, 300 Union Street

This will include a meal typical of this income level, some activities, and speakers about homelessness and area food resources. Cost: $2 or what you can afford.  Please RSVP to ensure sufficient food. f.corinne.smith@gmail.com

·      Book Discussion:  Thursday, March 17, 6:45-8:00 pm.  Content Bookstore is hosting a time to discuss the book and its concepts in depth. All are welcome.

·      Video Showing:  March 29, 7:00-9:00 pm, Dittman 305, St. Olaf Campus. A video following four low-wage workers will be shown.  Discussion will follow the movie.

·      Community Gathering:  Thursday, April 7, 7:00-8:45 pm, St. John’s Lutheran Church, 500 Third Street W.  This event will feature music by Broke Folk, a one act play by Northfield High School students, testimonials, discussion, and a time to focus on ways we can address this concern in Northfield.

Everyone is welcome at any and all of these events.  Reading the book is helpful, but not necessary.  What is important is to come with an open mind, ready to listen and to share as we explore who we are as a community.  Books are available at Content Bookstore and Northfield Public Library.

If you have further questions, please contact:  Corinne Smith, f.corinne.smith@gmail.com or 507-663-1048.

Northfield Readsis a collaborative project, brought to you by:  Human Rights Commission, Northfield Public Library, League of Women Voters, Community Action Center, Thrivent Financial, Northfield High School One Act Plays, Content Bookstore, Carleton College Center for Community and Civic Engagement, and St. Olaf College Department of Social Work and Family Studie