Close the Gaps
The COVID-19 virus is expected to increase food insecurity in Indiana by 40 percent.
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry
A few years ago, a New York university’s poll about poverty revealed some interesting statistical gaps. For example, a vast majority of people believe poverty is an extremely or very important issue in the U.S., but only a third say they have ever done anything to help poor people. In addition, the poll conducted by the Fishlinger Center for Public Policy Research at the College of Mount Saint Vincent found that 60 percent of Americans say poverty is a result of an unequal society, but only 21 percent believe we are actually doing anything meaningful to address the issue.
The revealed gaps, you could say, lie between belief and action: The poll suggests that Americans believe there is a problem, but they aren’t doing much about it.
Some might argue with that statement. Certainly, the many people who work each day to turn back poverty can take issue with it. Others might point to the nation’s countless anti-poverty programs to say, “Look. There’s a lot being done.”
But the evidence suggests that, no matter how much we are doing, it isn’t enough. Poverty persists.
In the four years since the Faith & Action Project at Christian Theological Seminary was launched, we have seen incredible work being done across our community. Unfortunately, much of that work is inhibited by scale. Poverty is a massive force that current efforts simply cannot match. That is what the Faith & Action Project seeks to address. We want to identify promising projects and help them boost their scale.
The importance of this aim has only been increased by current events: the spread of a virus that affects poor and minority families at an outsized rate, and increased recognition of the current and historic inequities faced by our nation’s Black citizens.
These issues are causing pain and grief across the nation, but they also present opportunities. By bringing new attention to economic and cultural injustice, they have opened the door to conversations about persistent blights such as poverty.
So let’s seize this moment and close the gap between belief and action. Let’s engage more passionately in efforts to end poverty, working to see, hear, embrace, serve and empower the marginalized among us. Let’s pull together the power of our faiths and faith communities to increase the scale of our responses. And, in so doing, let’s work toward that day when poverty is no more.
Lindsey Nell Rabinowitch
Project Director, Faith & Action Project
Mentoring Makes the Difference
The Catholic Family Center in Rochester, N.Y., is helping poorer families boost their incomes by as much as 118 percent by enrolling them in programs that focus on creating beneficial relationships and networks. Researchers at Notre Dame University found that the programs – which are part of the Rochester-Monroe County Anti-Poverty Initiative – also more than doubled employment for participating families. They key? Mentoring support to address issues such as housing, finances, mental health and more. Learn more here.
COVID-19 Widens Education Gaps
As schools across the nation unveil their plans for the coming school year – with the key question being whether they will return to classrooms – a recent New York Times story examines the differences between private- and public-schools’ pandemic responses and the increasing disadvantage those differences create for poor students. One example: “Private school students are more likely to live in homes with good internet access, computers and physical space for children to focus on academics,” the article notes. Learn more here.
Help Promote Rapid Recovery
The State of Indiana is asking for help spreading the word about its COVID recovery resources. Some of the materials, distributed by the Office of Career Connections and Talents, are geared toward general workforce preparedness and retraining through the state’s Next Level Jobs initiative, but they have been re-positioned to focus on recovery efforts. The package of materials described as “Rapid Recovery Resources” includes a toolkit and other resources to help community organizations share opportunities with the people they serve. To access the materials, click here.
“COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime,” McKinsey and Co. Despite considerable attention paid to the issue, educational-attainment gaps among students of different income levels and races persist … and the pandemic threatens to make matters worse. The solution? According to this report from McKinsey and Co., it involves remote-learning training for teachers, parent collaboration, wrap-around services and more. The challenge? “That may require investment – something that cannot be taken for granted if state and local government budgets are cut,” the report states.
Mark your calendar for these important dates
September 1, 2020: Deadline for second-round Faith & Action Grant applications.
September 29, 2020: Faith & Action Fall Event
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