“You feed them.” Those were the words of Jesus to the disciples. A big hungry crowd needed to be fed, and the disciples had come to Jesus for a solution. Jesus challenged the disciples to feed the crowd themselves, but they protested they were not able to. Now, we might get that opportunity, again, in the current economic crisis.
A friend of mine heads a large social services agency in our area. He and I were discussing the economy tonight, and he remarked, “Get ready for budget cuts.” He went on to explain that programs for the elderly will be the first to be cut, as the federal and state governments cut social program funds to local helping organizations. Then he paused and said, “Actually, I’m not sure anything is safe.” He meant any program that helps others including food, children’s programs, and more.
As the federal government wrestles with a solution to the immediate economic crisis, local governments are already cutting budgets. Contrary to popular belief, those who need financial aid are limited to a very small amount of financial help, and only for a limited period of time. Food stamps provide only $1 per meal — $21 per week per person. Try eating on $21 per week.
Churches will have tremendous opportunities to help, because government will do less and less in the months and years ahead. Small churches can band together, as we do here in Chatham, to create emergency relief funds. But, churches will also need to develop more creative approaches to helping those in their communities. What is your church doing to prepare to care for those who need help? Many churches observe October as World Hunger Month. It might not come at a better time.