Today is “Blog Action Day” according to someone. The point is to bring awareness about poverty to those who read our blogs. I think it’s a good idea.
My friend John Allen recently posted an amazing set of myths and facts on his blog (which he himself copied from the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana), and I’m shamelessly copying it here:
Myth: They are not hungry. They are fat!
Fact: This is called the Obesity Paradox. The population that is forced to live on cheap, starchy foods are, in many cases, fat. In some cases they are morbidly obese. They are getting a lot of calories and little real nutrition. The end result of this is all kinds of health problems.
MYTH: They do not need help– they get food Stamps.
Fact: According to studies done by America’s Second Harvest, 40% of the people eligible for food stamps do not receive them. And , almost 84% of the families contacted for the 2000 hunger study reported that the food stamps they receive last for three weeks or less.
MYTH: Low-income families who need help do not work.
Fact: Seventy-one percent of low –income families work. In fact, the average annual work effort for low-income families is 2,500 hours, equal to 1.2 full time jobs.
MYTH: The kids get enough food through school lunch and breakfast programs.
Fact: These programs do not provide an evening meal the vast majority do not provide food during the summer, school breaks, and holidays.
MYTH: Low income families are illegal aliens, or immigrants.
Fact: Seventy-two percent of the low-income families have American-born parents only.
I’ve heard some of these statements (complaints? excuses?) used to justify inaction toward addressing poverty. We’ve got to stop. We have to begin to own the fact that Jesus himself spoke far more frequently about loving the poor and needy than he did about marriage, homosexuality, abortion, or war (incidentally, Jesus didn’t speak directly to either abortion or homosexuality, though other parts of Scripture-- all God’s Word-- do address these). Jesus-- and the New Testament apostles-- were equally as concerned with right belief AND right practice, the latter of which James summarizes as caring for those who are marginalized and without means (James 1:27).
For another look at the reality of poverty and wealth, this video from Miniature Earth is amazing.
Here’s my encouragement: check out these very helpful documents that the PCA offers, thanks to the amazing ministry of Randy Nabors:
- Biblical Guidelines for Mercy Ministry
- Principles for Giving Assistance
- Five Common Questions for Evaluating Need
Find more at the PCA’s urban and mercy ministries page under “Resources.”