It’s easy to dismiss poverty when confronted with people living on the side of the freeways and under overpasses. It’s easy to modify the story in our head and to minimize the impact on our communities because after all, how much does it really impact us? Isn’t poverty a political issue?
Like you, these thoughts went through my mind, until one day, I could no longer stand by and do nothing. I remember the day vividly—a woman stood in the parking lot of a grocery store by my home. The Kroger store is easily one of the more expensive stores in my city, yet I shop there due to convenience.
This woman held a child in her arms and two toddlers sat by her feet. What, I wondered, was she teaching her children? Is this the new normal to hold a sign in an affluent parking lot, begging for money for food?
Like many people, this bothered me, but only for a while because I was busy. I had a job, a career and my own children and I had responsibilities so I couldn’t be bothered with her grief.
But the image would not go away and even after a few days, I wondered about those kids.
I had no choice if I faced this encounter honestly. It really was my responsibility because I am a human being, and this is the community I live in. If future generations are to live a different existence and add value to life, then it must be all of our responsibility. And if I consider what she is teaching her children, then what am I teaching mine?