Common knowledge informs us that approximately one million Americans each year over the past five out of six years have fallen below the poverty line in terms of their household earnings.
That is a staggering number.
We encounter the personal plunge on a daily basis. It is undeniable.
For the latest evidence, consider the numbers we've collected here at Central Dallas Ministries during the first two months of 2008 in our Resource Center on Haskell Avenue. We distribute food products and provide our own version of "neighborhood case management" from this high-traffic community center.
During January-February 2007, we provided services, friendship and hope to 6,202 individuals representing 3,783 families. We did so thanks to the volunteers who provided us 2,564 hours of service time.
Compare the same January-February period this year and you discover that we engaged 8,315 individuals from 4,832 family units--an increase of thirty-four (34) and twenty-eight (28) percent respectively. Our volunteers logged 3,052 hours in providing for these dramatically increasing needs.
I'm glad we are here.
I appreciate our volunteers--the vast majority being great folks with few material resources who receive our services themselves.
But, I see this as very, very sad growth.
We should be doing better as a people and as a nation. Sadly, in my view, no one in the current presidential campaign addresses this pressing national problem.