Category Archives: Poverty

Does Terre Haute have a Desert?

One of the major issues that the Ryves Up! program is trying to combat at Benjamin Franklin Elementary is food deserts. Well to start off, what is a food desert? (well I’m glad you asked, thats a great question) According to the American Nutrition Association (USDA), food deserts are parts of the country where fresh, healthy food, and produce are scarce, due to the lack of grocery stores and farmers markets in a certain area.

Due to the difficult nature of transportation in Terre Haute and the lack of stores in residential areas, this makes Terre Haute one of the victims of Food Deserts. Unfortunately,  it happens to exist in an impoverished residential area around The Benjamin Franklin Elementary School. The following map will show the location of the school and grocery stores around it.

As you can see in this wide radius of 6 blocks there’s only one Kroger and a gas station. It’s also quite a walk, assuming you live by the school it takes 22 minutes to get to that gas station imagine if you lived even further west from the school.

This issue has gained the attention of the state of Indiana according to a Tribune star article, and there has been multiple proposed solutions, but due to the merging of Whole Foods and Amazon the food industry has been rapidly changing  and people are getting less access to grocery stores in general. The following video highlights some of the difficulties people face while living in a food desert:

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Gardens in Impoverished Areas

It’s crazy to think of getting all the essentials for living like groceries and toiletries from a local gas station, but when the local Kroger pulls out of the area, the gas station is all that’s left.


This is the situation for many people in parts of Terre Haute. The freshest fruits and veggies come from Circle K. Gas station produce is the reason Ryves Up! is making such a difference. By teaching children how to garden, they can bring those skills back to their families and eat healthier.

Community gardens are a great way to get people involved and making healthier food choices. They are extremely beneficial in big cities where large green patches to freely cultivate a personal garden do not exist. A study completed in New York City in 2008 found that many residents lack a sufficient amount of fresh food stores in their neighborhood area. Many people in NYC can’t afford enough food for each meal in the day, so they spend what they do have on unhealthy options because it’s the cheapest

Gardens like the one Ryves Up!, if placed near other low-income and at-risk areas across the country, can grow fresh food for those who are in need and can’t get out to garden. There are programs all over like “Plant a Row for the Hungry” that grow fresh produce and donate it to food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. 


Please consider donating to Ryves Up! to help them further their reach to those in need in the Terre Haute area!

Poverty In Terre Haute

The Terre Haute community now more than ever is facing an increasing rate of poverty. According to an Indiana public media article the unemployment rate has increased 11 percent with the relocation of multiple large business. 1 in 3 Terre Haute children are living in poverty since 2009. Vigo county schools have reduced lunch programs and emergency dental care to help low income students. However, state funding has been continuously cut throughout the years, which makes it harder for schools to help as much. The following map shows the poverty levels in Terre Haute:

According to this map there are some areas have 50% of their citizens living below poverty levels. The same article compared the poverty level in Terre Haute to the state of Indiana and it shows that the poverty level percentage is double the state of Indiana. The Ryves Up! program is trying to help students by teaching them how to grow produce instead of just donating food, which helps them learn a new trade that will help them in the future.