Poverty is Unnecessary
I believe that taking care of the poverty stricken is a shared responsibility that too many people fail to comply with. A few years ago, I didn’t know that there was a world outside of my rural town of Casco, WI. I lived complacently in my home and never really needed to worry about having enough food or a place to sleep. My necessities and a few basic wants were handed to me.
When I was eleven years old, my family went to Madison, WI. The purpose of this trip was to go touring colleges for my older brother. I really didn’t understand what was going on, but my parents took me along anyways.
Going to a big city was quite an experience for me. Seeing all of the tall buildings that spanned for miles upon miles was the first thing to preoccupy my mind. The next big thing that caught my attention was the state capitol building. I had never seen a building like it. But even with all of the sights and buildings, something raced in the back of my head. It was a thought that followed me wherever I went. Who are those people sleeping on the ground with the tattered blankets?
With me being a curious, energetic, eleven-year old, I had to find the answer to this question. So, I went to the source of most of my answers, my parents. As we drove by a park, I simply asked my parents who the people were and what they were doing at the park. They enlightened me that the people were “homeless.” Homeless was a word that I could not comprehend at the time.
I tried to imagine myself being homeless, as they had described it. The idea of not having a nice bed to fall on every night scared me. I realized that everything had just been given to me on a silver platter. When I was a baby, all I had to do was cry, and someone would vex the situation. But then I thought, what about the crying baby that isn’t heard or is even just neglected?
I thought about giving something to them. As we drove further on, I saw more and more of these poverty-stricken people. I wanted to do something for them, but I couldn’t. There were just too many of them.
Only one solution that I had thought of seemed like it could make sense. If everyone who is fortunate enough to have a home and a family would make an effort to contribute, poverty could be literally erased from the world.
As I grew older, and the years progressed I overheard many topics worthy of debate. One such topic that triggered my attention was world hunger. It didn’t seem fair that some people could buy three or four cars while others in third world countries worked an entire day for a meal. It almost seemed like a principle of slavery to me. One person benefits from the hard work and misfortunes of others.
I know that poverty and world hunger cannot be completely erased, but something can be done to lessen the damage. Having food and shelter should be something universal and achieved as a group. I believe that taking care of the unfortunate is a responsibility that needs to be accounted for by everyone.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.