For those living in poverty, their definition of being poor might be: “I don’t think I can make it thru today.” For the working poor, the definition of being poor might be: “I have today covered, but I don’t know about tomorrow.” Many of our neighbors are living in poverty. Not generational poverty, but situational poverty. They might have lost their job or may be retired and all their life savings have dried up and have only Social Security to fall back on. When you live in poverty, all you can think of is getting thru today. You don’t have time to plan when you are going to take a vacation even if you had money to take one. You don’t have time to help your child think about what school they should attend or discuss with them what they want to be when they grow up. Let me give you an example; We who live in the middle class have auto insurance and if our car breaks down we can call AAA. They come and pick up our car and tow it and we have the resources to get it fixed. For those who live in poverty, you don’t call AAA- you call Uncle Ray. Uncle Ray has fixed your car many times in the past. You don’t have any money to pay Uncle Ray, so you have to agree to babysit his children in exchange for getting your car repaired. Also, now that your car is broken, how are you going to get to the part-time waitress job? You have been late several times in the past…. Or the babysitter didn’t show up; or you just had a judgment against you for not paying back the payday lender and you had no money for gas to get to work. Or your baby gets sick and you went to the emergency room last night and waited for hours in the middle of the night to have someone see your child. These are a few examples of what happens when you live in poverty. Those who live in poverty face the “Tyranny of the Moment” everyday. We know government needs to cut services. This only adds to the tyranny of the moment. We need to continue to help with emergency needs like food , clothing or help with utilities while at the same time having a dialogue within our communities on how to help those living in poverty work their way out of it.
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