1,000 Families Thriving
A movement aimed at lifting 1,000 families out of poverty, and targeted at the neighborhoods immediately surrounding Bethel Church, was launched several months ago. Led by Anna Buble of the United Way, it has gathered faith groups, business representatives, financial backers, and a variety of other interested parties in support of the cause.
The driving idea behind the project is that families need more than money to escape poverty. They need a complete support network if they hope to rise out of poverty and stay out. This means those assisted will need skills training, well-paying jobs, and access to social resources, language training, a supportive community network, and much more.
At times the 1,000 Families Thriving effort has seemed to move at a snail’s pace, and the program’s unfolding has not been without flaws. Our church has sent representatives to three meetings so far to give input. Some who have attended these meetings did not received promised follow-up and have been left wondering if their contribution made any difference.
But progress IS being made. The most recent meeting was much smaller than the previous two and was aimed at finding the people who will make up the movement’s steering committee. All of us who attended left with assignments to bring certain people to the table when we meet later this month. At that time, the movement’s organizers hope to name the steering committee members. Hopefully this will set the stage for the real action to begin.
It is not certain at this time exactly what part Bethel will play in this ongoing effort. It is quite possible we will have a place on the steering committee. If not, we will play another supportive role. Anna Buble wrote the following to me in an email: “Clearly Bethel is both an anchor and a leader in Bannerman and would be a great representative of the faith community.”
Social change goes not come easily, but the 1,000 Families Thriving initiative impresses me as both promising and an answer to our prayers; so, let’s not lose heart. Let’s keep praying that God will use us to show his mercy to many who desperately need the help this effort promises. –Pastor Tom
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