Saturday, January 25, 2014

I have a heart for the working poor

I don't know about you but I'm not so sure that this country is on the upswing.  I keep hearing about layoffs, foreclosures, food banks and charities being stretched even more to accommodate more requests for help.  This bothers me and sometimes I feel like a deer in the headlights, frozen in place, not knowing where to go or what to do.
I understand that some people make very bad decisions but I truly believe that most people are hardworking folks, doing what they can to put a roof over their head and food on the table.  Not everyone can pull themselves up by the bootstraps, climb that corporate ladder and get out of their circumstances.  What is a family to do when they are used to the husband making 60 grand a year suddenly finding himself making 25 working a retail job where he can only afford insurance for himself?  What about the single parent who gets a week vacation and MAYBE, just maybe a week of sick pay?  What are they to do when their child gets sick and they have no more time and they can't afford to take a day off without pay?  What about your neighbors where the husband got laid off and the wife is the only one bringing home a paycheck?  They've raided their savings, his retirement and the future is looking bleak?  Now I'm going to bring up some hot political topics:  food stamps and unemployment benefits.   I am not here to argue one side or the other but I will say that I truly believe that cuts in both will put strains on charities, agencies, and food banks.   The local Catholic Parish Outreach here is straining to help people. 
What can I do?  It's hard to volunteer at places that help these people because they need volunteers during the work week and I work.  Most soup kitchens around here don't serve on the weekends.  I'm not sure why because people are still hungry.  Most ministries are open during the week as well. 
I think of Judy and what she is doing at her local parish, teaching people how to shop for food in a healthy, frugal manner AND how to prepare that food.  You know so many people really don't know how to prepare this type of food.  They are used to boxes of mac and cheese, hot dogs and frozen pizza.  Do DHHS offices offer recipes to their clients?  I don't know but I think it would be a wonderful way to help. 
This is an old video but I think it is a good illustration of what I'm talking about. 

Do any of you volunteer at soup kitchens, ministries, food banks?  If so, what are you noticing?  Is it getting better or are more families using these services?

1 comment:

  1. It has stayed about the same where I live. We have very low unemployment due to a strong agricultural based community. There are several factories in my area that are continually hiring. I am closely involved in two organizations that help kids, with winter coats and food to bring home on the weekends. The need for this in children has remained about the same. I really feel for this kids because they have no control over their situation. I think that even if the economy was fabulous, there would still be hungry kids without proper winter clothing.