Helping the Poor Isn't Always Pleasant
The poor, as fate would have it, are just like us. They're mixtures of virtues and vices. Like us, they aren't always grateful. Like us, they don't always trust. Like us, they don't always respond. Like us, they're both generous and greedy. Like us, they're sometimes wonderful and sometimes awful. Whatever happened to the noble poor? Some are out there, but mostly they are in Charles Dickens' novels.
The "poor" poor aren't always so noble, and they are the hardest to deal with - which is probably why we don't/
Mental note: When you help the poor, you always receive more than you give - but it may not seem that way at the time.
Another thing I learned is that food baskets at Thanksgiving, toys at Christmas are good as far as they go - but they don't go very far. People easily talk about direct help to the poor on special occasions - clothes, food, money. Those fine things shouldn't be taken lightly. But that's the easy part. The hard part is trying to do something about the poor's state in life.
The discussion always slowed when we tried to focus on this. Where do you being? What do you do?
It's hard when you deal with the causes. How can we give them basic skills to manage their lives? Can we make loans available to them through our own credit unions at considerable risk? Shouldn't the state make better provision for dependent children? What about health insurance? how do we help them find work? How do we help them find work that pays a living wage? Why are single parents, usually women, abandoned so easily by a spouse?
Mental note: Direct assistance is good. Tackling the causes is better.
- Little Black Book, Diocese of Saginaw