GUEST COMMENTARY: Help lift people out of poverty

2012-11-29T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Help lift people out of povertyBy W. Dennis Hodges
November 29, 2012 12:00 am  • 

As one who majored in history, I have traced the lives of men and women who have come out of poverty to be productive and responsible citizens. Their stories are remarkable.

As a result, I understand that every person should be treated as if he or she has something to offer, has something that could influence our lives, and make a difference in our society. Many actually do.

In theory, no one needs to be poor in finance or spirit. No one really needs to “fall through the cracks,” be on welfare or incarcerated. This society has the potential to move many from the welfare rolls to the tax rolls. Yet there are over 7 million people in the United States who are in this predicament.

However, poverty and despair can be prevented or remedied through a simple “twist and turn” that brings an indigent to a level of personal comfort and security. In this regard, we should know that it cost far less to educate the poor than it does to “maintain them.”

That is a purpose of the Bakery House ministry, but more needs to be done for even more caring people who can reach out to touch the hearts of impoverished men and women, and to bring out the potential within them. Are you among those who can do this?

It might seem hard to believe, but there are those who benefit from impoverished people. Area banks charge lofty fees when a person does not have the funds to cover a debit. Utilities and others charge late fees, and the ones who suffer the most from these charges are the poorer among us who can least afford them.

Should someone go the local emergency room without insurance – and there are a whole bunch of folks who do -- the government pays the hospital. Agencies for the poor hire large numbers of people to administer countless numbers of programs for them and again, the government pays.

So, for some, it really is good economics to keep a sizable segment of society in poverty.

There are of course, agencies that work from paltry budgets, yet serve the greater good. The Bakery House is one such example.

The Bakery House, a residence for indigent men in Gary that is owned by Rebuilding the Breach Ministries, serves these men by offering training in job and social skills. Jesus says, “We will always have the poor among us” and indeed, we will.

On Sunday, the Christian world comes into a season of Advent and Christmas. Historically, this is the season of social charity and love.

With prayers and contributions of time and or money, we can all make a visible difference in the lives of individuals who are in a quest for responsible citizenship.

If not Rebuilding the Breach Ministries, perhaps you can aid another social service that you favor and that could use your help. Please consider the possibility.

W. Dennis Hodges of Merrillville is a volunteer special projects coordinator for Rebuilding the Breach Ministries. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.

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