Nationwide, times seem to be getting just a little worse, with politics taking a more ugly, partisan, devastating turn for the country, resulting in the debt crisis, the possible default of America’s loans, and the downgrading of America’s credit rating. All this is terrible news, and not just on paper. It matters to everyone of us, and it affects everyone of us.
While we cannot do much, if anything, about the political impasse that has gripped the country and caused so many career politicians to lose sight of their mission—serving—we can and must do something about our local situation. We are not gripped by political fighting, but we are seeing its affects. For some, already, this means bad news. This means loss of employment, loss of any assistance, and looming and inevitable cutbacks in just about every entitlement program, including Social Security, and even loss of contact with governmental representatives.
So we must huddle together and come up with some solutions to problems right here. Some of these solutions are big, some not so big, but all can positively affect lives right here in our community, thereby causing positive changes in all our lives.
To paraphrase the quote from Maya Angelou that Dezi Stanley used in a recent column, “we are not our brother’s keeper, we are all brothers and our sisters.” St. Pauls has always had a true sense of community, escaping the socio-economic and racial divisions that have and still do plague other communities. We are blessed. Now we need to stop congratulating ourselves and start working together to solve some problems that we can actually solve.
Here is a partial list that I’ve seen the need for over the years, and I am sure that you can add to to it. Please do
A Food Resource Committee. This committee, a suggestion of Rev. Mike Williams, would include a representative from every church and any other groups or individuals, and would coordinate all available food resources, including weekly and monthly feeding opportunities, an outreach to area and statewide farmers for excess or slightly below market standard food, such as sweet potatoes, an attempt to tap into statewide and regional foodbanks, such as Second Harvest, etc. Most of all, the churches, some of whom already sponsor weekly or monthly meal events aimed mostly at their own members, could join the larger group and become a true outreach. This committee could organize weekly and monthly feeding events, and include meals on wheels, and could also coordinate annual food events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, where fellowship is just as important as the food itself.
Divorce Support group. The name of this one pretty much says it all. Divorce happens, and most times at least one party suffers. A Christmas, or other holiday meal with others could alleviate some of that suffering, and so could weekly or monthly talk/listen sessions. Very simple.
Walkers/Stroller Moms. Again, this one is self explanatory. We have a need to stay fit for the upcoming times, coupled with the fact that we are growing older. On the other hand, young moms (and dads) need a little time with other parents, and their children certainly need some fresh air and sunshine. SP is a great place in which to walk, and walking with others makes it that much more pleasant.
Cancer Support Group. Sadly, there is seemingly an increased occurrence of cancer in this and every community. People already stricken and their families need support in every way. Cancer survivors can inspire and lessen fears.
Community Charity. There is already a plan to help stranded travelers in place, and this is needed. But there is no community-wide assistance for those most in need right here in our own little town. There is always need, and that need will be growing over the coming years. The Loflin-Walker Fund helps greatly. St. Pauls Community Relief helps coordinate and facilitate charitable giving and drives, but lacks resources in and of itself. We need to help each other during times of greatest difficulty, such as fire, homelessness, natural disasters, and other catastrophic times and situations.
AA Chapter. With all the problems facing people today, sometimes the easiest way out turns into a nightmare. A local support group could help greatly. Volunteers began an AA Chapter here previously, and it needs to be reopened and sustained.
Drug Abuse Chapter. Prescription drug abuse has now joined illegal drug abuse as a huge problem. A support group could help lessen the impact that drug abuse of any kind has on lives. Those addicted or nearing addiction, and their families could benefit.
We cannot change the world, we cannot change Washington, but we change St. Pauls. If you agree, then start talking and then start working together. We must get the word out about existing, available resources, and we must fill the gaps that exist currently. By pooling those existing resources, and by working together to create new ones, we can and must make a difference. Together we can!