Weekly Update from Chester Eastside, Wednesday, June 4
Poverty is about a lot more than sheer survival.
We’re apt to be most conscious of people’s need for the basic necessities of life, like food and shelter. But some of the most crippling aspects of poverty aren’t that obvious. That’s why the Food Ministry at Chester Eastside is about a lot more than food. People struggling just to make ends meet are likely to be dealing with a range of other challenges as well. It could be a need for a decent place to live, or help in managing money, or a
substance abuse problem. For children, it could be anything from a greater risk of asthma to traumatic experiences unknown to more affluent kids. Then there’s the message people trapped in poverty get repeatedly from the wider society: that they’re somehow different, and not in a good way.
A welcoming place.
There’s a very different message people get at Chester Eastside’s Food Ministry, which operates Monday and Wednesday mornings each week. In part, that’s because many of the people on the helping end have known poverty first-hand. It starts the minute a person walks in the door. It’s clear this is no welfare office. Instead, it’s a welcoming place. The main business is giving out that urgently needed bag of food. But first, there’s a cup of coffee, a pastry, or a hot dish prepared by one of the volunteers. And just the feeling of being a valued human being.
We also want to get to know you; find out other ways we can help you realize those dreams you haven’t quite given up on; let you know about other programs you might want to be involved in; or just provide a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to lean on.
Does it pay off? Ask the woman who once came to Chester Eastside for a bag of food – later became a volunteer – and later still, a key staff member.
But for some, it’s enough to make it through the day and on to the next. No matter. At Chester Eastside, we don’t give up on anybody, even those who’ve given up on themselves.
You may want to forward this Weekly Update to a friend.
• Meeting basic human needs
• Helping people of all ages be all that they can be
• Working for a more just society