Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Even If It's Just A Smile

Poverty stinks - that's the long and short of it. Millions of people world wide go to bed hungry (if they even have a bed at all) and they struggle to meet even their most basic survival needs. The majority of the world's wealth is held in the hands of the minority and that isn't fair. I don't believe that anyone should have to beg for food or shelter, and all people should be given equal opportunities to thrive. That being said, it's difficult for me as one person to feel as though I can make a difference in any quantifiable, sustainable way. Often, I find the issue overwhelming - I know that it's out there and I know that it's terrible, but I feel ill-equipped to make a change and therefore am crippled by my own sense of helplessness.

I combat this incessant negativity by doing something...anything. I realize that just like the saying "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" so too does the journey to end poverty. I cannot erase poverty, and I cannot make the world fair, but I can make life different for just one person today...and so I try to do just that.

When I can afford it (as a social worker that isn't as often as I'd like, but meh) I buy an extra $5-$10 worth of groceries at the store and donate them to the local food bank. Furthermore, I make a point to research the policies of the companies that I do business with to ensure that I am supporting economically just businesses. And I also donate my time to various agencies in the community aimed at ending poverty and improving the quality of life for all. More than anything, however, I honor my own contributions - however small they may be. My contributions don't have to be your contributions, as long as we all do what we can.

Don't get caught up in the trap that leads you to believe that incremental change isn't worthwhile, because that just isn't true. All change is meaningful, and any change makes a difference to those who need it most. So get out there (or stay in there) and do what's within your power. Use your own skills and passions and make a change for someone else.

Remember: each day is a new day and a new opportunity to help someone.

What will you do today?

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