Thanks to Staci Bell, of Sixth Street Shelter, for submitting this post!
For just a moment, close your eyes and clear your mind. Picture yourself in the heart of the city. It is nearly dark outside; a cold wind whips up from the river and stings your skin. You look down to find a small child tugging on the threadbare coat you pulled from a dumpster behind an apartment building earlier in the day to keep warm. “I’m hungry, daddy” she says, echoing your own thoughts as you wonder where you’re going to find your next meal before huddling together under the bridge to sleep tonight.
Can you picture this scene? Can you imagine yourself, your child, hungry and without shelter? This is what poverty looks like to millions of Americans in our country today; with millions more teetering on the edge. How long will it be until your face, or mine, or our children, becomes the face of poverty? The warmth of summer has given way to shorter days and longer, cooler nights. September is almost gone and more families than ever are struggling to find the basic necessities like food and health care. Today there are more than 80 families on our waiting list, with even more dropping in daily seeking help.
In times like these it is important to remember that we are all part of larger communities. How we care for each other, our neighbors in need, will define us as neighborhoods, as cities, states and indeed, as a nation. Will we choose to ignore the poverty that surrounds us, or will we consider the faces of our neighbors, imagine the faces of those we have not met, and band together as communities in the war on poverty? Poverty has a face. Will it be yours?