According to the U.S. Census Bureau one in eight people are deemed to be in poverty, which is about 35 million people. Despite that 46% of these people own their own home, 76% have air conditioning and most own their own car, have television, cell phones, and typically have food and water, let’s accept the impoverished in America as being one in eight people.
That’s a rather large problem. I think the amount of people on welfare is much smaller than these figures, but I haven’t been able to ascertain the accurate data on that yet. The question that is often debated is how can the poor be helped and whose responsibility is it to give them aid.
Some think it is the government’s job to provide that aid and are comfortable with a form of socialistic welfare to the poor. Others think it is a job of faith based organizations to provide this care to the people in their community. The former often creates an unhealthy dependency on the government tantamount to an entitlement mentality of those who receive these benefits. The latter perspective can create the same sort of dependency and entitlement just directed towards faith based institutions instead of the government.
There is a question of whether such dependency is truly giving aid to these people. Of course, it meets their basic needs are met to some degree, but what does it rob them of at the same time? It causes generational dependency on someone else for ones needs to be met. It doesn’t promote freedom from poverty, but dependency to a system of receiving aid from an institution.
Think about it this way. Parents raise their children with the intended result of them being self-sufficient. They are teaching them along the way to learn how to support themselves financially, to be wise with their money. If a parent has not done this they have children who continually return to the nest for shelter, food, and help to pay off their debt, etc.
When people depend on an institution for their aid, it’s like children who never grow up to become self-sufficient generation after generation. I don’t blame the people in this situation; the institutions have a great deal of the responsibility for causing this situation.
People have a diversity of needs that an institution simply cannot meet. My husband and I saw a woman struggling to get her motorized wheel chair fastened onto the back of her car. My husband went to aid her in this task. It was quiet an ordeal. It was so very hot outside, we felt terrible that she has to do that on a regular basis. She said she really needed the motorized scooter, but Medicare said no and gave her a chair that is much more difficult to manage. A person who cares about her could easily see that the scooter would have been a better option for her.
What if caring for those in need was something that
This past week I heard a story a man told about a friend of his who was once a teenager in a group home thinking that life had nothing to offer for he had only experienced hardship. Being cared for by the system wasn’t something he saw as good will, but something that was the result of not being treated well. One day a man visited the group home and gave each teenage boy two hundred dollars. His reason was that God told him to. That teenage boy suddenly realized there was some good in the world and someone cared about him. Today he is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. One act of kindness changed his life in a way an institutionalized form of care never could.
What if American’s loved their neighbor and got involved helping the poor directly. Of course, many American’s give to charity and volunteer for charities. But how about, one on one looking out for the needs of the poor you come in contact with. If only 2 in 8 did this for the 1 in 8 that would be two people helping to every one in need. Would social security, medicare, disability, and other forms of welfare even be needed anymore?
What would this do for people? Maybe people would be enabled to find their liberty to not be dependent, but experience being loved by those who really do care about them. Maybe their children will grow up to be upstanding citizens in their community and pass on the help to others in need because someone was there to show them they cared. Let us not put off loving our neighbors onto a government institution or even unto a charitable institution faith based or otherwise. Let us give of our own time, money, and love and help those who need helping respecting their individuality and retaining their dignity.