LETTER: A call to service
Senior Chandler Vargas, ASB President.
When most people think of serving others they tend to think abroad rather then the needs of their home. Fresno is the fifth most poverty-stricken city in the nation with a concentrated poverty rate of 25.1 percent.
This manifests itself into a need for food in the population, especially with the current drop in the economy and increase in job layoffs. Hunger not only affects those who struggle with poverty or homelessness, but also numerous others within the community.
Contrary to beliefs, many people who are dependent on food banks are not homeless. Only 10 percent of people dealing with hunger are homeless, while 36 percent of recipients of assistance have at least one working adult within their household.
I have personally experienced the burden of food insecurity, which helps give me insight into this ever-growing problem. Within my own life there have been notable occasions where, because of my mother being laid off, it was difficult to cover all the immediate bills and groceries. By enduring this hardship, I have become aware to the reality of the great need for food, even within the seemingly unsuspecting households.
However, on various instances through help from churches, school and anonymous donors, my family was provided for with the basic essentials to persevere during trying times of the year. Life on its own is hard enough to press through without having to be concerned with where your next meal will come from.
I realize I have been blessed tremendously throughout my life to be fortunate enough to have made it this far. Yet numerous citizens within this very city are simply trying to survive.
In order to help reach out to my community, I have decided to partner with the Dakota House, a ministry which offers its own food bank, day care and tutoring sessions, as well as church and youth group services, to surrounding neighborhoods.
My plan is to collect student donations of new or lightly-used blankets and coats, to help shelter those in need from fast approaching winter conditions. Fellow peers will assist me in delivering these donated goods and singing Christmas carols to create a sense of holiday cheer.
As Matthew 25:40 says: -The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"
Christ calls us to serve those who are less fortunate as if we are doing it unto him. With this years theme, I challenge us to seek out opportunities to reach the needy in our own community. If we aren't willing to help those who are our neighbors, then who will?
For more letters, read the Nov. 8 submission, LETTER: Cherish relationships this season.