Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Poverty: The worst form of violence

Walking down the streets of Cameron Park, you smell the stink of rotting food, dirty water, and plumbing systems that are sub-par.  The houses look like one bedroom apartment that needs to fit 7 children, Mom, Dad, Grandma and even the dog.  You dare not walk alone at night because the crime and violence rate have skyrocketed.  The gangs, or clickas, as some call them, own the streets.  Drive one mile the other way and you are visiting a completely different neighborhood or two-story houses with beautiful cars in the drive way.  It is two completely different worlds.  That is the reality of my hometown, Brownsville, Texas.

Here in Austin, you can drive down any street and see a homeless person on the corner asking for money.  Poverty, according to the Austin Food Bank, is "...a measure of cost and deprivation rather than income and an adequate standard of living."  In fact, 15.2% of people in Travis County are living in poverty, which is actually HIGHER than the U.S. poverty rate. 36.6% of unmarried women with children live in poverty and 1 out of 5 children are poor.

So the question is why?  Why are SO many people living in poverty and sleep with hunger pains?  If the United States, alone, produces enough food to feed the entire world more than once, why do people go hungry?  If the whole United States produces so much food, I am sure that Austin produces enough food to take care of the hungry in their own turf.  We are Texans.  We pride ourselves on the bond of the cowboy, the brotherhood.  This bond protects every Texan, every color.  So we need to STAND UP! HELP OUT! Actions speak louder than words.

I have lived my life as a missionary and have helped out the poor and hungry in my hometown, Brownsville.  Eli Broad says "Brownsville is the best kept secret in America. In the face of stark poverty, Brownsville is outpacing other large urban districts nationwide because it is smartly focusing all resources on directly supporting students and teachers."  Brownsville recently 
won $1 million to go to the Brownsville Independent School District, according to chron.com, so
 congratulations Bville!

So what can we do here?  Capital Area Food Bank of Texas is a great way to start!  They take money donations or food donations and they give people living in poverty the food needed to survive.  You can even host yo
ur own food drive!  Another way is to get involved with Toys for Tots, an organization that takes donations of toys and delivers them to needy children for Christmas.  There is a lot you can do, visit Austin Food Bank for more information!

Do your part to end the most unnecessary violence in the world here in Austin.  End poverty because no one deserves it.

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