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Poverty ties in with all kinds of social ills - low grades in


  • chool, poor nutrition, violence, even asthma and shorter life

    expectancy. But poverty is about more than money. Poor people can't get at


    the opportunities and services middle-class Americans take for granted. So


    the poor often sink into a cycle of day-to-day survival, which often


    ensures that their children will be poor too. In West Virginia, that's one


    of every five people.



    This year's Kids Count Databook compiled a list of opportunities and


  • ervices from which poor families are often excluded. Inspired by the Kids

    Count report, the Gazette chose five of these topics to explore in coming


    weeks in the Community section.



    This week, staff writer Scott Finn explores the problems of families


    who struggle to find a ride to work or to a doctor's office.











    A few months ago, Tonya Dillon couldn't get a job, go shopping or even


    go to the doctor. All because she couldn't drive.



    "I could either pay someone to take me," Dillon said, "or go on the


    weekend," when her trucker boyfriend could drive her. The 22-year-old from


    the isolated Lincoln County community of Spurlockville felt like she had


    to depend on other people for everything.



    "Even as a mother, I felt like I couldn't take care of Jonathan," she


  • aid, talking about her 2-year-old son. "If I couldn't find a ride to the

    doctor, he couldn't go."



    When Dillon needed to take her son to the doctor a month ago, she


    couldn't find anyone to take her, not even the people who charge $7 for a


    trip to the county seat of Hamlin.



    Then, she found out about the bus.



    "A boy who lives up holler told me about the bus," she said. She took


    her son to the doctor on the bus. She learned that the bus would travel


    the half-mile off the main road to pick her up at the door, and that it


    ran on the hour, every weekday. She could finally do STORY INCOMPLETE




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