Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What Can I Do?

Blog Action Day: Poverty

Casey called me last night with a statistic he heard on NPR. Families (of 4 or more) in America are considered the 'working poor' if they earn less than $41,000.00 annually.

I find this staggering, but perhaps not for the reasons one thinks. $41,000 is a LOT of money. 80% of the world lives on less than $10.00/day (source) yet here in America $41,000 for a family of four is the breaking point - the point where one earns too much to qualify for help, but not enough to really do more than (and sometimes not even as much as) make ends meet. Now I'm not naive. I know that there are HUGE differences in standards, economies, governments, scale, and SO many other factors that the $10.00/day statistic is NOT a comparison by any means - I just find it interesting.

Casey relayed the 'working poor' information to me in a moment of prayerful gratitude that, by God's grace, we are no longer part of that statistic.

*It makes me wonder (and I don't KNOW - these are ONLY my own thoughts) if life really IS so expensive? Or is our over-advertised, over-privileged, over-expected, over-processed American lifestyle inspiring us to feel 'poor' instead of blessed and abundant?

*Are we blessed and abundant - even when we struggle to make ends meet?

*How do we help each other when times are uncertain? How do we help others - those living on less than $10.00/day here and abroad?

*What inspires us to truly believe that we are a people and a country blessed with Freedom and abundance and choice?

Some of my favorite places to help:
Heifer International
World Vision
Angel Food Ministries
MUST Ministries

To read more "Blog Action Day" posts please click the logo above.

I'll keep you posted!



Bethany Hissong said...

It's a coincidence that you blogged about this today because I just saw this Blog Action Day site earlier and considered doing it... that is, until I got put to manual labor!!! I'll bring my paintbrush over, btw!!! ;)
You do bring up some interesting points. I add up just my utility bills and the regular stuff I have to pay each month and I can't believe how expensive life is now. My mom refuses to have cable so she won't have that bill. But do we really need to keep the house as cool as I do in the summer? I did try to open windows more often this year. That was part of my whole inspiration for studying urban homesteading... becoming more self-sufficient and keeping life a little more simple and affordable! I can't believe when I graduated from college (with student loans to pay back) that I made $18,000.00/yr as a teacher! That was 1989 and I know now that they make a lot more, but it seems like there's an awful lot of people living around that poverty number. I like your point about helping your neighbor!

Grumpy said...

We just dropped Birthday Cake supplies for MUST Ministries over at M's Brownie Leader's House (one of the older troops is putting together birthday party supplies) - it sad to think that so many kids don't even get a birthday cake while mine pout if they don't get the latest webkinz on the market. Yah - Life these days is expensive.

At the same time, I remember talking to parents that were attempting to qualify for Medicaid and in some cases it was pretty disturbing to my mind the threshold for that. I also remember my mum once talking about people at her office who considered themselves "Working Poor" and yet they had the latest of things....

I'm not sure where my feelings lie, but I do know that our perceptions are very distorted and things also cost more - but the threshold for necessities versus wants has also drastically changed.

Its hard to tell. Thanks for the thought provoking post!