blog action day 2008

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Editor’s Note: This post is my contribution to Blog Action Day, joining thousands of other bloggers to write about one topic for a single day. This year’s topic is poverty.

On my recent trip to New York City, among the glamor and the excitement that engulfs the city is a site familiar to anyone who has walked that city’s streets.

The homeless. The needy. The poor.

Some residents in the area may have become immune to site of beggars on the streets and I can understand why. Walking past them I was torn between whom to give the money to…there were so many. Would they use my money for food and shelter or to buy booze and drugs to help briefly lessen their pain? I didn’t know.

It sadly crystallized for me how monumental a problem poverty is in the United States.

Recent statistics are even more painful to comprehend:

• 37.3 million people live below the official federal poverty level, which was $20,614 for a family of four in 2007. This number is up from 36.5 million in 2006.

• The number of people who are poor by the official government standards is more than to the combined populations of Iowa, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Oregon, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, Colorado, New Hampshire and Idaho.

• Almost half of all Americans will have experienced poverty for a year or more at some point in their lives by the time they reach age 60.2

I have worked for many years as a leader in my parish for the Catholic Charities campaign in the Diocese of Buffalo. There are many truly valuable services provided by Catholic Charities in my city and yours. One of those services is help for the poor. Catholic Charities agencies serve one in every 10 people living in poverty.

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Catholic Charities USA has established a formal program that you can participate in to encourage a focused effort to significantly reduce the problem of poverty for people in the United States. Catholic Charities’ Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America. The campaign provides a multitude of ways for you to get involved in this fight and help reduce this problem. It starts when you register.

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I hope you will register. I hope you will donate. And like me, I hope you will remember not to forget those less fortunate than us.

Please consider participating in Blog Action Day 2008 if you haven’t already registered by clicking here. Thanks very much.

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