"Truly I tell you, whatsoever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." -- Matthew 25:40
According to 2011 government statistics, 15% of the U.S. population lives in poverty. This is both astonishing and shameful for a country with unprecedented wealth. In the current economic crisis, religious and private organizations struggle to meet the basic needs of individuals and families. As Christians, we know that direct aid is not sufficient. Impelled by the Gospel, we need to help transform public policies so that all people have opportunities for education and job training, a living wage, and access to childcare, medical care, transportation and housing.
Both nationally and globally, the chasm between the wealthy few and the desperately poor majority continues to widen. It is greatly affected by the powerful influence of large corporations as well as the inequities of trade relations in our globalized consumer economy. In addition, the level of foreign debt burdens many impoverished nations.
What You Can Do
- Pray for conversion of heart so that the basic needs of those in poverty come before personal wants.
- Learn more about the struggles of people in poverty through volunteer work among them.
- Assess the effects of your economic decisions on those who are most vulnerable in our society.
- Act to promote democracy so that those in poverty have greater ability to participate in decisions that affect them.
- Advocate for the transformation of public policy so that every person has a generous sufficiency.
- University of Michigan's National Poverty Center and U-W Madison's Institute for Research on Poverty provide current information about poverty in the USA and in Wisconsin.
- The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the US Catholic Bishops domestic poverty program. Assess your level of understanding of domestic poverty.
- Bread for the World mobilizes people of faith to alleviate global hunger through the transformation of public policy in agriculture, foreign assistance, etc.
- NETWORK, a Catholic Social Justice Lobby, helps to inform people of faith about legislation and its effects on the poor and vulnerable in the USA.
- Common Cause is dedicated to holding power accountable. Learn more about the power of money in electoral politics and what you might do about it.