Poverty is Over?

President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers declared on Thursday that America’s long-running war on poverty ‘is largely over and a success,’ as it made the case for imposing new work requirements on Americans who benefit from federal safety net programs.” July 12, 2018 – New York Times.

This headline caught my attention for a number of reasons. First, I’m uncomfortable talking about our love and care of those in need as a “war.” It seems an out of place violent nomenclature for acts and programs of kindness. Second, I’m certain that poverty is not over and our response to it cannot be described as a complete success. There continues to be a growing need for affordable housing. There continues to be a growing need for our food shelves. There continues to be a need to care for those who are homeless. While some version of this narrative may be spoken in support of creating work requirements for programs aimed at helping those in need, it does not reflect the reality all around us. There will always be people who need help; sometimes it’s someone else, sometimes it’s us.

I am grateful, in this moment, to serve with a family of faith whose generosity and care for those in need continues to grow. I am grateful for the support of our refugee family. I am grateful for our support of Resource West, ICA – Food Shelf, MoveForward, My Health, Mental Health Connect and the BRCC all of whom are actively seeking the welfare of those in need in our community. Thanks be to God! And thanks be to each of you who share your abundance here, in our community and across the world. Thanks for all of the gifts you share!

The headline also caught the attention of the former director of ICA, Cathy Maes who currently is the executive director of Loaves and Fishes. In her recent letter to the editor at the Star Tribune she points out that in 2013 Loaves and Fishes served a total of 341,000 meals. In 2018 they are on pace to serve over 1 million meals. People are still hungry. People still need help. It is overwhelming to imagine walking through a grocery store that anyone could be hungry in our community… but they are. As a family of faith we are a participant and supporter of the Loaves and Fishes program here in Hopkins. Thanks to the many, many people who regularly share of their time and energy to serve nutritious meals to those in our community who need them. If you are looking for a place and time to share your abundance, look for the announcements about when and how you can serve at Loaves and Fishes. You will be glad you did!

Please, keep all our elected officials in your prayers. Please keep those in our community in need in your prayers and in your financial plans as you make choices about sharing your financial resources. Know that your gifts shared do make a difference. Know that your prayers make a difference, softening your heart and opening your life up to those in need.

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