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I just found out that today is Blog Action Day. That’s a day where all bloggers are encouraged to write about the same subject. Today that subject is poverty and I’m going to look at it from the eyes of a Sandwich Generation grandparent.
Poverty is a global problem. According to UNICEF, 26,500-30,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”
“As food prices soar, the poorest populations — especially children — are the most severely affected. Heightened food prices have forced World Vision to reduce the number of people who will receive its food assistance.”
Poverty is also a local problem. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that, “One in five children in America lives in poverty—nearly 13 million in all—and this number continues to rise.”
What can we, as multi-generational caregivers who are often giving our time and our money to help so many, do to help the world’s poverty-stricken? Plenty!
We can support laws that help the helpless. Twenty years ago, I worked as a substitute clerk for three school districts. The free lunch program they offered was such a blessing to the many children who came to school with no lunches and who had often not had breakfast either. I am not big on raising taxes, but I have always supported these food programs! Yes, there probably are abuses. Yes, they sometimes help people who haven’t paid taxes. BUT they directly help children who are in need.With all the government waste out there, I love the feeling that this program directly helps and cares for children.
The numbers of children qualifying for this program has been growing this year due to rising fuel costs, grocery expenses, and unemployment rates. In Louisville, KY, Shayla Reaves, Wave 3, reported, “The tough economy is forcing many families to make tough choices, but imagine not having enough to give your child lunch money….School officials say thousands of local parents are in that situation. They are too little to work, buy groceries, or pay the bills, so when grown-ups can’t, children are the faces of crisis.”
We can look for ways to help while staying at home. Writing this post is one way of doing that. When we are at the grocery store, we can look to see if they are one of the many who offer ways to purchase groceries and leave them at the store to be donated to the local food bank. Donating canned goods to all the different service organizations who will be collecting for the holidays is another option. We can stock up on grocery items that are on sale. Then we can take them to our church or keep them easily available to donate to those who go door to door collecting for the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. Perhaps one of our kids’ or grandkids’ classes will have a can drive. If they never get picked up, save them for the Post Office’s annual can drive in May.
We can also donate to organizations who get down into the trenches and work with those directly affected by extreme poverty. Many of us attend churches that help with local food pantries or send money overseas to help the needy while also teaching them that Jesus Christ loves them and died for them. There are many excellent parachurch organizations which do the same.
World Vision is one of my favorites. You can find many creative ways to donate to them online whether by a one-time donation or signing up to sponsor one or more children all around the world. For $35 per month, less than the cost of dinner and a movie, you can help provide education, health care, and supplemental food for a month for the child you sponsor. If you want to really have some creative fun, you can “shop” in the donation catalog and choose to donate money to purchase specific items like $75 for a goat to provide cheese, milk, and yogurt. How about $25 to buy two chickens to lay eggs?
Neither you nor I alone can put an end to world or local poverty. But you and I, working together with people all around the world, can make definite changes, positive improvement, and truly help others who are in need. Please join us in this fight against poverty.
As Billy Graham once said, “God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.” But all you wonderful caregivers already knew that, didn’t you?!