Hard working middle-class folks like us (and like most Lutherans) don’t really like to hear about issues of rampant poverty and a social system that adds to the problems. But perhaps we need to listen for a bit.
We need to know that 25 years ago, the minimum wage would ensure that a family of 3 could stay above the poverty level. Today it requires a minimum wage of $6.80 for that family to reach the poverty level. And 25% of people living in poverty make less than $9.00 per hour.
We need to know that one in eight American children has no health insurance, but that for 14 cents a day from every American we could insure all the 9.2 children who now are without health coverage.
Do the math: That’s only $51 per year.
We need to know that working families with children are the fastest growing group of households with worst case housing needs.”
We need to know that in order to afford fair-market rent for a 2 bedroom rental in many areas of the nation, a minimum wage worker would have to work 119 hours a week. That’s more than 17 hours a day, seven days a week.
As a congregation and as a community in Appalachia we can
- Join mentoring programs
- Work to sign up community children for CHIPs
- Support ELCA World Hunger efforts
- Build community networks to provide support for families in need
- Provide community awareness of these issues and encourage others to listen and to learn
Together we can make a difference. The West Virginia Western Maryland Synod is taking steps in the direction of addressing hunger and poverty issues in our region of Appalachia.
These people are our neighbors…. And we can be “Just Neighbors” with them.
The “Just Neighbors” program was brought to the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod through the efforts of the Committee for Church in Society with financial help from Community Lutheran Partners, Inc.