By Amy Bloch
While travelling to Washington D.C. for a conference with all Catholic Charities directors from across the country, I was struck at how a country with such wealth and power continues to have so many living in poverty.
Catholic Charities USA hosted the meeting, bringing together more than 75 directors who are facing similar struggles as we do here in our community – homelessness, lack of food, limited access to mental health services or health care, and stigma to name a few.
There continues to be a belief, with some in our country, that people choose to live under poor conditions or that they don’t do enough to pull themselves up out of poverty.
I ask each of us to consider a 6-year-old growing up with very little food and a mother who is working two jobs to support her children, however, is therefore not at home as much as she would like or needs to be.
This child goes to school every day, trying to learn, even though he is hungry and worried about his family. His neighborhood is filled with drugs and kids involved in illegal activities, yet he still walks home each night, hoping for something better. It is this hope, that we must ensure never dies.
We have great opportunities to make a difference in these children’s and families lives. This means not turning a blind eye or pretending it does not exist.
God has called us to live his word, to reach out to those less fortunate, to love those who are in need. More than 40 percnet of the clients we serve at Catholic Charities are living below the poverty level. They are the families struggling to feed their children, yet wanting them to have a bright and hope-filled future.
So tonight, as we lay our heads down and give thanks, let us also remember those who need our prayers, our compassion, and our gifts. “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Amy Bloch is the executive director of Catholic Charities, which has offices in Sioux City, Fort Dodge, Carroll, Storm Lake and Spencer.