In conversation today with someone I like a lot, I mentioned a food/supply drive happening for local agencies. “I’m not participating,” this person said. “Why not?” I asked. “Because people need to get jobs and stop being lazy,” was the reply.
Friends, I hope it’s obvious that there are many other reasons people may be in need of some sort of food, clothing, supply or living assistance. But just in case it’s not, here are ten other reasons a person or family might find themselves in need of the help that comes from government agencies, non-profit organizations or generous friends and strangers.
1. A fire or disaster has destroyed the family’s home or business.
2. A child has become seriously ill and the medical bills are piling up.
3. The main income earner of the family has become seriously ill and is no longer able to work and the medical bills are piling up.
4. He or she is too young to work. (Did you know that 1 in 4 children lives in a food insecure home? There are many programs that provide food and basic needs for children who are unable to provide their own support.)
5. He or she is elderly and on a fixed income with little other resources.
6. He or she is a single parent for reasons beyond his or her control. Single parents must figure out how to manage work, childcare and child-raising sometimes with little help from family or friends.
7. All adults in the home work hard at the jobs they have, but they are unable to earn enough income to provide adequate housing, meals, clothing and hygiene.
8. One or more adults in the home is unable to find even minimum wage employment. Jobs are not always available, by the way.
9. The family is raising a child who has special needs that requires one adult in the household to not work in order to provide care.
10. An adult in the household is pursuing and education that will ultimately result in the ability to better care for the family financially, but creates a schedule that makes it difficult to have a job that earns an adequate income.
I’m certain there are many more reasons I could list. I would hope that rather than make blanket generalizations about people who receive help in one form or another, we would seek to be merciful, kind, generous, understanding and less judgmental.
34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:34-40