By Sydia Bell

Poverty Is Real, a Decatur-based non-profit, is addressing a major issue within communities with the help of local musicians and residents.

The organization hosts concert fundraising event featuring primarily local musicians. Every band that plays in the concert donates a song, which is then put on compilation album. The CD’s, along with tickets and t-shirt, are sold to benefit local charities.

Michael Killeen, founder of Poverty Is Real, said the initial concert raised $6,000 with the help of local band The Bitteroots and Rebecca Loebe from The Voice for the Decatur Cooperative Ministry.

Poverty is defined as a family of four with an average yearly income of $22,000 or less. Killeen acknowledges, “one of the major issues when dealing with poverty is that people don’t acknowledge it exists.” With 1 out of every 6 Americans living in poverty, he said that raising awareness is important now more than ever.

Whether a person can volunteer their time, talent or money Killeen has made it possible for communities to help themselves while enjoying the festivities.

For the next Poverty Is Real concert on Dec. 6, the action moves to where the Futurebirds, who were recently named by Paste Magazine as one of the top 30 bands in Athens history, will join forces with Woodfangs and Claire Campbell (of Hope for a Golden Summer), to kick off the second concert series at the 40 Watt Club. The proceeds going to Whatever It Takes, an organization which seeks to ensure that every child in Athens-Clarke County graduates from post-secondary education.

To find our more information about Poverty Is Real” or the upcoming events being held in Atlanta and Nashville, visit

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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