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Poverty…not just “out there” anymore

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Pastor’s Pulpit

by Pastor Brian Young

  “Poverty is no longer an issue of ‘them’, it’s an issue of ‘us’,” – Professor Mark Rank, Washington University.

Often, we find in life that we think and speak in abstractions. It is very easy to offer advice or assessment when it concerns a problem “out there.” From a distance, we don’t feel the suffering of heart-wrenching circumstances that others are currently living through. But up close, the realities are far more difficult to turn away from. Poverty is one of those issues – easily dismissed or criticized and corrected from a distance. For many people for so long, poverty in America has been an abstraction – something affecting irresponsible people on the fringe of society. But poverty is thick in the air around us…

A study published very recently revealed that a stunning 4 out of 5 Americans will experience poverty for at least one year during their lives. Other startling conclusions of the study include…

  • Higher recent rates of unemployment mean the lifetime risk of experiencing economic insecurity now runs even higher: 79 percent, or 4 in 5 adults, by the time they turn 60.
  • By 2030, based on the current trend of widening income inequality, close to 85 percent of all working-age adults in the US will experience bouts of economic insecurity.
  • The share of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods – those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more – has increased to 1 in 10, putting them at higher risk of teenage pregnancy or dropping out of school.

In most people’s lives, chronic financial hardship begins with a triggering event. Then, it gradually grows into a snowball of sorrow and hopelessness over time. A single mother’s car breaks down and she can’t afford to fix it. Despite her best attempts, she then loses her job because she has no transportation. Then, she’s threatened with eviction because she’s lost her job. Now she and her child are living in a shelter. The child misses school because he’s not sleeping well at the shelter. He falls behind in school. Such a pattern then can lead the child down a similar path of despair.

Please know that individuals and families are currently facing challenges just like this right in our own Coal Creek Canyon community. And Canyon Care is here to help. Canyon Cares is a locally run, non-profit organization that is all about short term assistance during those triggering events exactly like the one illustrated here. Hundreds of canyon residents live on a paper thin margin with no savings to weather hardships such as a job lay off, a medical emergency, car repair, next month’s rent or even an empty propane tank. You may think of Canyon Cares for the holiday baskets that we provide to low-income families at Christmas. We’re that too, but we also provide funding to individuals and families 365 days a year. We cannot solve every financial problem, but person after person has stated that the aid Canyon Cares provided to them was enough to keep them afloat and lift their spirits.

Canyon Cares is funded by a combination of private donations and grants. The need is always greater than available funding. You can make a big difference in how many families receive assistance from Canyon Cares by deciding to provide a recurring monthly or annual donation. All donations are tax deductible and every donation, no matter the amount, brings relief to one of your neighbors. Checks should be made payable to Canyon Cares, and sent to the following address:

Canyon Cares

PO Box 7392

Golden, CO   80403

Follow Canyon Cares on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CanyonCares. There are weekly postings about current needs and upcoming events! To learn more about Canyon Cares, please call Pastor Brian Young at 303-642-3201 or email at wpchurchbrian@gmail.com.

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