October 7, 2015 Valerie Anderson

It takes a village

Did you know that the three countries where Common Change has the strongest group presence are amongst the top 10 countries with the highest percentage of single-parent families? In the United States, 27% of children live with one parent; in the United Kingdom 24% do; and in South Africa, the percentage spikes through the roof with 43% of children living with one parent.

Single parents face the full role of care-giving, nurturing, role-modeling, discipline, provision and decision-making – often in the absence of a broader support network.

We believe that no parent should have to raise their children in isolation. We believe that a community makes the world of difference: financially, emotionally, and physically. We believe that sometimes all it takes is a little creativity to draw alongside a single parent and let them know in tangible ways that they’re not alone.

Here’s how Common Change groups have come alongside single parents this year:

  • A group in North Carolina paid for two months of “child support”, and helped connect a mother to Legal Aid
  • A group in DC helped pay for moving costs for a mom and her teenage daughter, and ensured they got into more permanent housing
  • Friends in Austin provided start-up items for a new mom
  • After a single-mom had an emergency heart transplant, a Common Change group in California paid for meals and groceries. They also provided another parent in Omaha with a month’s worth of grocery cards.
  • A group in Round Rock, TX covered utilities while a mother looked for work
  • Friends in Riverside, CA paid a phone bill, to allow a single-mother looking for work to remain in contact with potential employees
  • A group in Philadelphia, PA covered tuition costs for a teen mom
  • A group in Lexington, KY covered a Habitat for Humanity mortgage payment for a single mom from the Congo
  • A group in the UK helped pay the cost of an unexpected tax bill for a parent
  • Friends in New Jersey paid for car repairs for an Egyptian mum and daughter seeking asylum in Tennessee
  • A group in the UK purchased dressers and beds for a single mom and her two sons
  • A group in California helped a mom transition to a new life, and navigate increased health insurance costs for herself and her four children
  • A group helped a single-dad send his daughter to college and cover tuition and living expenses

Our challenge to you this month? Think about the single parents you know and how you might tangibly express your care and support. Make it a focus to submit a request to your group this month on behalf of a single parent.

Not yet in a Common Change group? Start Your Group Today

Some Stats:

More than half of single mothers in the US live in extreme poverty with incomes below half of the federal poverty level — about $9,900 for a family of three. This translates into a weekly family budget of about $200. In addition, one-third (34.4%) of single mother families are “food insecure,” 13% use food pantries, and 30% spend more than half their income on housing, which is generally considered the threshold for severe housing cost burden. Nearly a quarter have no health coverage and single mothers spend a third of their income on childcare.

Read more: Single Parenting Challenges & Rewards