January 24, 2011

The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the Lord will praise Him, may your hearts live forever!

Psalm 22:26 NIV


January 24, 2011

Remember I told you that I was going to share with you ideas on how to take care of the poor and not make them so dependent on us but help them become independent? Well, today we are going to discuss one way in which we can do that.

Food Pantry

Almost every community has a Food Pantry for the poor. Local churches, businesses, schools and other organizations all donate to the pantry and keep it well stocked. The person who uses the pantry must show that they do need the assistance. They come to the pantry and are handed a voucher of how much they can have or are given a bag already filled. This is a hand-out and this type of pantry will create dependency.

A pantry that promotes independence will operate like this.

Allow all of the contributors to continue to donate to the pantry. Stock the shelves and make the aisles wide and easily accessible. Allow the handicapped in your community to work the pantry. This is why the aisles should be wide, to allow for wheelchairs. Have each one of them work according to their ability. Some may be able to stock the shelf and others can assist the shoppers in locating items. Some may even be able to work as cashiers. Did you catch that last word? That is right, I said a cashier. This food pantry is going to teach the poor how to provide for themselves, restore self-esteem and become independent. What you will do is sell the items in the pantry at extremely affordable prices. If a person comes in and they have no money but are in need of food, then borrow them the money. However, have them sign a promissory note that in exchange they will work off that debt. Have them sweep and mop the floors once the pantry closes. Pay them accordingly and allow them to shop within that range.

Does that sound crazy? Well, I know a church that is doing something very close to this. They have an agreement with another church that has very wealthy parishioners to make the food donations weekly. This wealthy church understands that what they donate is being sold at affordable prices. You can do the same thing. You can partner with a church and be in complete agreement that the goal is to limit the amount of poor in your community by teaching them how to provide for themselves. It is my idea to hire the handicapped to work the pantry, and that is because I have a handicapped step-daughter. With the money that you make from the sales, you can pay the handicapped adults a wage. This is a win-win situation.

When you set up a food pantry like this then the poor retain their dignity and appreciate all that you do for them. As I mentioned I do know of a church in Lawndale that operates like this and I have talked with some residents. All of them are now pantry free. What I mean is that they have jobs and go to grocery stores to purchase their food. They also donate to the pantry to help out the other poor people in their community. Not only did this teach them independence but it taught them to be charitable.

This is not going to be an easy task. The hardest part of this will be finding people to donate the food. That is because they believe if they donate, then the food should be given to the poor. They are refusing to see the big picture and understand fully what you are trying to do. What they are afraid of is you getting a profit from their good deeds. This is why I suggest hiring the handicapped. Now you will need people to work the pantry who are not handicapped. You can hire some of the poor who need the food. You can pay them and with the money they earn they can buy food. If one group refuses to help even after knowing all the facts, then find a group that does understand and will help.

The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the Lord will praise Him, may your hearts live forever!


In His love,

Michele Beck


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