The new U.S. Census Bureau report on poverty in America was neither encouraging nor discouraging. Statistics show the country’s median income and poverty rate in 2014 remained the same as the previous year.
If you’re a “glass half full” kind of person, the numbers are good news. But if you look at things through a “glass half empty” perspective, the report isn’t particularly positive.
Here in Detroit, where I operate Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), the news was especially disheartening. We were rated as the most impoverished major city in America with 39.3-percent living below the poverty line of $24,008 for a family of four.
DRMM and other organizations that assist the homeless and disadvantaged can pretty much predict the annual numbers by the amount of people we service. The Census numbers indicate the nation’s middle class and poor didn’t see any extra money last year. In other words, the economic recovery has not touched the needy.
Here at DRMM, we still see working families come in for a free dinner. Their paychecks don’t always stretch to cover a daily, balanced meal. We still provide basic needs and career training services for laid off workers who can’t make ends meet. And, we still find our shelters filled past capacity on many nights.
Addressing the needs of this country’s poor and hungry is one of the top issues that should dominate the agenda for next year’s presidential candidates. A group of 100 faith-based organizations calling themselves “Circle of Protection” has asked each candidate to create a short video outlining their plans for helping the disadvantaged. You can view the videos here.
I hope that you will show compassion toward the poor, just as God commanded that we give generously to the needy and speak on their behalf.