Here at Central Dallas Ministries we endeavor to measure what goes on. We pay more and more attention to outcomes, trends and the stories that statistics weave for our consideration.
About this time last year we received the following feedback from the neighbors who come to us seeking solutions to pressing issues.
The first report is encouraging. The second, very hard to read. Revealing stuff.
A March 2007 Community Health Services (CDM's health) clinic survey found that 93% of patients reported improvement in their health, 80% said they were better able to participate in daily activities and 90% said CHS had contributed in a meaningful way to their overall health.
A May 2007 Food Pantry survey found that 91% of neighbors say the assistance received at the food pantry has helped them deal with their personal financial crises.
Sixty-one percent (61) reported that in the past 12 months they were forced to cut the size of their meals or skipped meals because there wasn't enough money for food. And, 66% ate less than they felt they should because there wasn't enough money to buy food at some point over the preceding 12 months.
Of those surveyed, 42% reported buying less food because they needed to pay for medicine and/or medical care.
Fifty percent (50) bought less food so they could pay for utilities, while 47% bought less food so they could pay their rent/mortgage.
Bottom line bad news (and no surprise): poor people are forced to make hard choices unknown to most of us on a regular basis, choices that affect the quality of their lives in significant ways. What is really disturbing here is the fact that so far this year our demand in the Food Pantry is up over 30%. I'm not looking forward to reading results of the next survey.
We must find ways to do better, don't you think?