“Faith, Hope and Charity” famous words of St Paul who goes on to state that the greatest of these is charity. The common theme of the three monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is the obligation to look after the poor, the sick, the widows and the orphans. It is a duty to be taken as a privilege and not a burden. All are required to give, even those with little to give. The parable of the Widow’s mite demonstrates this. The woman sweeps and searches her humble home till she finds a coin to give. Religious communities who have received the offering then quietly and discreetly give back to those who have little or nothing. Deuteronomy Chapter 15 “You shall open your hand wide to the poor and surely give sufficient for his needs, and that which he lacks” That is to provide basic needs. A roof over your head, clothing and food, not intended to make him rich. Everyone has their dignity protected which avoids the shame of feeling poor. Poverty humiliates and good society will not allow humiliation. Registered charities now have largely been silenced by new legislation, and are struggling to cope with increased need brought about by the austerity cuts. One however, manages to make it to the television news and the press with alarming regularity is the “Trussell Trust” foodbanks. This I think is a good opportunity to thank all in our parish who drop off goods to The Gladstone Hall, for collection for the warehouse. The need is growing dramatically. No one can get up one day and decide to pop down to the food bank. It is very well regulated. All foods weighed in and accounted for. None given out without a voucher given out by designated holders, eg Social workers, teachers etc. You must be known. Initially we may have had two or three come through in a morning. Now it is non-stop from beginning till closing time, and the tales are pitiful. Even upset and distracted, social workers, psychiatric nurses are turning up, desperate to help clients as there is no longer any slack in the system, or discretionary funds to fall back on. One mother of three attempted suicide as she could no longer feed her children. Single men seem to be very vulnerable if they have no family back up. They are cold, hungry and desperate, and certainly do not have sufficient for their needs. Let us all speak the silent cry of those in our city who today suffer from WANT, hunger and are frustrated and ashamed of the powerlessness of their situation from which they feel there is no escape.
(This article by Wendy was originally published as part of St David’s Messenger in March 2014)