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Blog Action Day 2008: How close are we to poverty?

Today’s Blog Action Day. This year we’re to focus on poverty and what we can do to help others. It’s much closer than you think.

Jimmie Hale Mission
Greater Birmingham Ministries
Social Media for Change

I’m going to ask you to give of yourselves today and think about supporting a couple of local charities today (listed above) including a new Kiva group created by local blogger David Griner.

Growing up going to Catholic School (while being raised Methodist) for all of my childhood and then to a college that focused on the ability to give back, it’s always been important to give back. I used to enjoy finding ways to help others. I’m here to say that you realize more than ever the need to help others when you finally need to help yourself.

Right now, I’m sitting here in a loft that I’ll be moving out of at the end of the month thinking about how I’m going to make a mountain out of a molehill. See, I realize that I’m not completely broke (yet) and that thanks to the opportunity to land work out of state for a few days I’ll have money coming in soon enough – the problem is will it be soon enough? Will the bills be paid? Will there be food in the house? Should I finally pawn that 12-string that I own?

There’s a roof over my head, food to eat and clothes that fit more the most part. There are many that assume that everything’s ok, so I don’t burden them with much information. It’s become a juggling act to make sure that everything’s on and operational. Every time I feel sorry for myself, I remember that there are many others that don’t even have my options as their roofs are highway overpasses and their food consists of others scraps.

I accept the fact that every day that I walk out the door, there’s a chance that everything will be gone when I get back. The good news is that I supposedly have skills that will keep the inevitable from happening – I can always get a job of some sort. I’ve always been lucky in that no matter what I was doing, even if I was whining until the cows came home, I went to bed blessed by the opportunity to serve others. I’ve read certain things recently that make me wonder if people are truly thankful of the opportunities presented to them. Maybe they should stop whining and start doing more.

There are many that do not get those opportunities for various reasons, but today is not about why they got there, but the fact that they are there. Whether they are starving in Africa or living without running water in Alabama’s Black Belt, people are suffering nonetheless and despite our best efforts, more can still be done for them.

So what do I want you to do today, on Blog Action Day? I want you to remember just how close many of us are to being impoverished. I want you to know that you may know folks who live among you that are scared of being out there and I want you to do something for them and for those who cannot help themselves, locally and globally. Since I can’t give of myself, except to write this piece and hope that others read it, I can only hope that you will consider serving others as a way to prove that humanity is still alive and well. Perhaps the partisanship that is scheduled to Balkanize sections of this country later this evening can be put aside just long enough to serve those that never seem to be served when they need to be.

The twinkle that you capture in someone’s eye as you help them will make it worth it for you, or perhaps the notion that one day you may need help too.


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