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I live because too many people worship their possessions.
I take delight in the slow and agonizing death of hope.
I make people feel less than human.
I eat away at dreams.
My face is etched on those who die by degrees.
My eyes see only despair.
My ears hear too many people give lip service to my power.
My mouth can only speak of a suffocating inner pain.
My nose smells the scent of rotting hope.
My heart feels a soul-crushing sadness.
I am a homeless man dying from exposure to the cold.
I am a university student who has a weight of debt I will never be able to repay.
I am a child in Thailand digging through garbage dumps for rotting food.
I am an infant in the Philippines without medical care.
I am a poor person in northern Ontario dumpster diving for food.
I am a young man in Kenya who can’t afford to go to university.
I am a family services client given only three days of food each month.
I am among over 40,000,000 people in the United States.
I am seen in every city, village and town.
I live in every country.
I am seen in millions of physically and developmentally challenged people.
I am seen in the face of the mother who prays for God to let her child die quickly, so she will not see her child’s slow and agonizing death from malnutrition.
I laugh in the face of man in his fifties who is told where no one can hear, “We’re not hiring you because you’re too old.”
I am seen in the faces of the millions of unemployed.
Who am I?
I am poverty.
How can you attack me?
Being that outstretched hand to the hurting and needy
Offering more bursaries and scholarships
Telling your political representatives they need to make dealing with me a top priority
Through listening and acting on the ideas of others who offer ways poverty can be reduced
Offering more internships
Being willing to donate your expertise in your field to mentor others
Poverty will always be with us.
We won’t solve it, but we can reduce it.
If the United Kingdom can reduce child poverty by 23% in five years, what could all of us do working together to address it?
I know. These are not original ideas, You’ve heard these thoughts from many. You feel helpless to do anything to deal with the problem of poverty.
I hear you.
All I’m saying is let’s not give up on the poor.
Do what you can.
Musicians, have fundraising concerts with money donated to poverty relief projects.
Teachers, teach in underserved communities giving the gift of education.
Doctors, be willing to go to remote communities to improve people’s health.
Wealthy people, give more of your assets to community poverty relief programs.
Lawyers, give more pro bono time to ensure that people deserving of disability benefits get them.
Politicians, please change policy so that people on social assistance can work more without having deductions to their benefits.
Policy advisors, please develop policies that would allow funding for people to have their own businesses.
Support people in starting their own businesses.
These are some of my thoughts about what the faces of poverty look like and what we can do to help them. What are yours?
Karen Osborne B.A. Christian Clinical Counseling St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, graduate divinity student at Trinity College University of Toronto. Kevin Osborne, B. Th. Canada Christian College & Graduate School. B.A., M.A. Christian Clinical Counseling, M.A-Th.D. Applied Theology student majoring in Psychology St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, D.D., D. sc., Diplomate in Traumatology American Board of Traumatology Examiners of St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, Diplomate in Creative Ministry St. James the Elder Theological Seminary. Kevin Osborne is a member of The Word Guild, which is a Christian writer’s group that invites membership all around the world. Please go to https://thewordguild.com for further information.