"If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor
As the 2010 fall election campaign moves into high gear, it is critical for people of faith to remind voters and candidates that the issues of poverty have become far more acute for many millions of American children and families during this time of economic recession. With the jobless rate holding above 9 percent, child nutrition feeding programs set to expire, and Medicaid and education costs rising amid state budget gaps around $140 billion, we must call on lawmakers and candidates to respond to the needs and challenges of the most vulnerable among us. While we understand the need to address long-term debt made higher during the economic downturn, we firmly believe that efforts at fiscal responsibility cannot forestall the need to provide economic opportunity to the most vulnerable citizens who have lost much during these difficult times.
As people of faith, we have a strong tradition of helping those who are less fortunate—providing them with bare necessities: food, housing, and clothing. But our soup kitchens and our shelters are only short-term solutions. We must work with government and private sector entities to provide a sustainable safety net and to create good jobs and family-friendly workplace policies that help get families back to work. That is the path to a sustainable end to poverty. Further, we believe that all efforts to rebuild the economy must include investments in good jobs for the under- and unemployed, in health and nutrition programs for our children, and in a strong safety net that protects the health and welfare of families throughout hard economic times.
The Episcopal Church joins the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Catholic Charities USA for the 2010 Fighting Poverty with Faith Campaign, in which we will spread the message to lawmakers and candidates to "do no harm; create economic opportunity" for millions of American families who have suffered during this recession. Our goal is to keep the issue of poverty in the forefront of policy concerns for voters and candidates alike, bearing witness to the challenges that many face to feed their families and care for their households. Fighting Poverty with Faith is asking individuals, churches, and local councils alike to join together in the month of October 2010 to educate and to advocate around poverty in America. You can find resources here.
You can be a part of the campaign to fight poverty with faith. Visit the Fighting Poverty with Faith website and start planning an event as part of this year's campaign.