Our church bible study has recently gotten involved in a food pantry ministry in town. It was humbling to go and be there last Friday night and once again be reminded of how much I have. Some of the facts I've been learning about our city are equally humbling: 15% of Madison's population live below the poverty line which is roughly 33,000 people. The poverty line as defined by the US Census is $15,735 for a family of three in 2005. And I thought I had a hard time living just by myself on a bit more than that for a few years. Use of food pantries in our county has increased 34% since 2001...and I'm only guessing that this year it has increased even more.
Helping serve food that night, I'm reminded again how much easier it is to ignore poverty and just focus on my own "grumblings" and frustrations with feeling like I do not have what I should. Ignoring poverty seems to make my own grumblings much more valid. Which at that point I realize how human I really am.