SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — January is National Poverty Awareness Month, but a local non-profit spreads the word all year long.

Friends of the Poor in Scranton is dedicated to helping those in Lackawanna County who are living in poverty and improving their quality of life.

One of their programs is created specifically for seniors in the area, which is becoming more and more popular as prices continue to rise.

January is National Poverty Awareness Month, serving as a reminder to recognize to those in your community who could use a helping hand, even if it does not directly impact you.

“It is so easy to not see it at all. And I know being on staff at Friends of the Poor, just being more involved in it you don’t realize the depths of the poverty that is in this area. It’s very prevalent, more than you would expect, and if you’re not around it you start to forget about it,” said Brady Funkhouser, Operations Manager at Friends of the Poor.

Local non-profit, Friends of the Poor, works 365 days a year to help those in need.

One of their programs, specifically geared to assist those who are 60 and older, has been receiving an increase in applications as the overall cost of living continues to rise.

“We’ve seen those numbers go up and we’ve been trying to spread the word for it too because it being a federally funded program, if you’re 60 and older and fall in the poverty guidelines, you automatically qualify for it,” Funkhouser explained.

Friends of the Poor partners with CEO Weinberg Food Bank to provide seniors who are living at or below the poverty level with a monthly box of food to supplement their dietary needs.

It is designed to improve the health of low-income seniors living in Lackawanna County.

The senior food box is a very helpful program for seniors in the area, but Friends of the Poor does offer several other resources for all ages, all year long.

“We have clothesline for men that offers work clothes for guys who need it. We have a furniture bank, a HomeGoods store that has all the stuff you need for your house if you’re starting over, refugees, people who suffered from a fire or have to leave their home for any reason, and then we just have many food banks all across the Scranton area,” said Funkhouser.

The senior food box program along with all of the resources that Friends of the Poor offer allows them to assist low-income individuals and families within the area, from January through December.

Each monthly senior food box contains four cans of vegetables, two cans of fruit, two bottles of juice, two boxes of cereal, one can of meat or fish, one non-meat protein, two quarts of shelf-stable milk, two pounds of pasta or rice and a two-pound box of cheese.