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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

ARMS Extend in Effort to Help Cover Thanksgiving Expenses for Low-Income Students

You’re a single parent. You do it all: take care of the kids, work, go to school. The day ends, but the work never does. You keep working harder, and coming up with rent is becoming more difficult. Suddenly, it’s Thanksgiving and you wonder how you’re going to afford that big meal. ARMS (Advocacy Resource for Modern Survival) wants you to know that you’re not alone, and they will even help you cover the expenses of that big meal you deserve.

This November ARMS is giving away $15-$25 Stop & Shop and Shaw’s gift cards to low-income students through their annual Thanksgiving Drive, an ARMS tradition. Last year ARMS gave away an estimated 40 cards, totaling in approximately $800, to students who could use a little “thanks” in their Thanksgiving. They hope to give out more cards this year.

The Thanksgiving Drive is among one of many programs ARMS uses to aid low-income students and single parents in making ends meet. ARMS assists with programs like welfare, food stamps, fuel, WIC, SSI, and more.

“I’m a single mother, so I know how hard it is to survive out there” said Daphnie Armand, ARMS coordinator. “The cost of living is rising, yet the pay is not. We’re working harder for less.”

Many UMass-Boston students face economic poverty. Escaping poverty is a grueling task with much work and little support. On average, people below the Massachusetts poverty line participate in a daunting cycle. The cycle begins by increasing work hours to increase income. Just as the hard work begins to pay off, and minuet progress over the poverty line is made, work support is lost. Work-related expenses such as childcare and transportation eat more of what little surplus that has been made, creating the need to work more hours. The cycle continues, while no financial security is gained.

“We strongly believe that the only way to achieve freedom from poverty is through education, and want to support those who are taking that initiative,” said Daphnie Armand.

Increased education has proven to be the most highly effective way to counteract the poverty cycle. College graduates make twice the salary as high school graduates, creating substantial economic gain. Having a college degree also advances careers, as employers tend only to promote candidates with college degrees.

In the past, students have been extremely receptive to ARMS’ programs, feeling ARMS has played a positive role in their lives. The response from ARMS was mutual. “I am honored to be working for such a great cause,” said Daphnie Armand pleasantly. “As a student and mom, I know that if we continue to support these people, one day they’ll have a better life.” To quality for the gift cards, students must be on governmental assistance and actively enrolled in the school. Students interested in participating in the Thanksgiving Drive should stop by the ARMS Center, Section 3100 of the Campus Center, on November 18 and November 19 to register. ARMS is also recruiting volunteers for their annual Christmas Drive.