A small geographic area comprising approximately 7,334 souls, the Memphis zip code 38126 is also home to the highest poverty rate in Memphis – 60.9 percent live below the poverty level.
That is remarkable, considering that Memphis has the second highest poverty rate of any metro area of one million or more residents in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's most recent American Community Survey. In Memphis, one in four residents live in poverty, and nearly 40 percent of children live in poverty.
What is poverty? Well, a family of four with a gross income of $25,100 lives in poverty.
But in 38126, the median household income is just $15,305, and the median age is just 24.7. An incredible 93% of 5-year-olds in that zip code live at or below poverty. The zip code is home to more than poverty, however. It is home to history and home to hope.
It is home to Clayborn Temple, the site from which sanitation workers marched during their historic strike in 1968. It is home to the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his famous Mountaintop Speech. And it is home to St. Patrick Catholic Church, which has anchored the neighborhood for more than 150 years. This includes St. Patrick Community Outreach, a non-profit that feeds the hungry on Sundays and runs a food pantry that is open Tuesday through Friday.
Catholic Charities is making an effort to focus public awareness and other non-profit agencies on the issues in 38126, and we are trying to raise $3,812.60 to kick off this project.
Working together to help those most in need, we can make a difference. It is a start. Please join us.
On behalf of those we serve,
Richard C. Hackett
Executive Director, Catholic Charities of West Tennessee
Program Director, 38126