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Birmingham Parent magazine

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Feeding the Homeless - Helping, or Enabling?

In a recent interview with Fox 6's Ashley Nix, a city of Birmingham official said that the efforts of some area churches to feed the homeless on regular basis downtown near the BJCC was "enabling them to remain homeless," rather than truly helping them.

What do you think?

While I see his point (it is better to teach a man to fish than to simply give him a fish), I would also like to know his solution to fixing their homelessness. I'm sure many churches, like my home church, would like fresh, new ideas on how to help the homeless find jobs, resolve mental, physical and addiction issues, and find a place to call home. But every homeless person has a different story that led them to where they are today, and it may not be that simple. Yet, their need to fill their bellies is immediate.

I think we have to help meet the needs of those in need -- and my religious convictions lead me to believe if I do that, it's the same as if I was doing it for God. I'm not saying give them money -- but a meal when they are hungry.

My home church does it once a month. While my husband and 14-year-old son have gone and helped numerous times, my daughter and I did it for the first time last week. I think we were probably more "rewarded" by our efforts than possibly the people we were there to help. And it made us more grateful people, and more humble, at least for a little while.

What do you think? Why?

We want to hear from you!

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