More children in Palm Beach County are living in poverty

More children in Palm Beach County are living in poverty, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Since 2007 -- the start of the recession -- the Census Bureau said approximately 64,000 more children were living in poverty here -- a 61 percent increase.

"We have to make [ends meet] with what we have because one day it can be all gone," said Carmelina Sardella, a single mother in West Palm Beach who earns about $160 per week. "There are some days that my daughter asks for a certain kind of food or something and I can't get it for her. And, it breaks my heart for me to have to tell her no."

School districts in South Florida said more children were on free and reduced lunch than there were before.

Some non-profit organizations said more families had asked for help with food and child care.

"We are seeing that it's a great number of families with children -- anywhere from newborn to 11-years-old -- that age range -- that are suffering through these things and it's affecting them at school," said Daniel Ramos, a program director at The Center for Family Services of Palm Beach County.

Ramos said the reason so many more families were living in poverty was because many of them were underemployed.

He also said many of them did not have access to affordable housing.

A single parent with one child, such as Sardella, lives in poverty if they earn $15,000 per year or less.

Sardella, who earns about half of that, said she remained optimistic.

"I just have to keep a lot of faith" she said. "One day, it's going to get easier so long as I keep working hard."

Ramos said a concerted effort in the community to increase access to full-time employment and affordable homes was needed to address the problem.

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