This Week at St. Stephen’s–March 11, 2012

ONE STEP AWAY FROM DISASTER

Every week people in need find their way to our door. Some of their needs are pervasive and beyond anything we could possibly meet: chronic poverty, mental health issues, painful circumstances far too complex for us to untangle. But sometimes the needs are clear and urgent. In those instances the Rector’s Discretionary Fund is available to help, this month’s Pink Envelope designation.

If there is one thing we have learned through the years about the working poor, it is that they are only ever one pay cheque away from disaster. A week off work due to illness means that some monthly bill will not get paid. An unexpected car repair means there is no grocery money. These short-term crises can be met with vouchers for one of the major food chains. We will offer this assistance once a month for up to three months. Sometimes things have gone so seriously awry that rent payments are late, or utility services are cut off. In these instances one-time assistance can keep a family off the streets.

It is enormously satisfying to be able to support people in need. Their gratitude is testament to that. But sometimes the help we offer is less tangible. It might simply be a five minute conversation where, for that brief period, they are treated with respect and dignity and given a listening ear to their hurts and troubles. They may or may not walk away with a food voucher, but their step is lighter as a result.

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