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Poverty in the Land of Plenty

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I work as a counselor at our local food pantry on Fridays.  I sit and listen to people's stories and do my best to make them feel better than when they came in.  I try and get through the necessary paperwork and then we talk.  I never pretend to have a quick fix for their difficulties.  I do sometimes make suggestions but mostly I listen.  I take what I hear and share what I can with the larger community.  Confidentiality is very important to me and I respect the rights of the people who share their stories.

In this town, as in so many towns in the Midwest, there is poverty that largely goes unnoticed.  The people I see at the pantry are rarely seen by me shopping on the town square or at concerts or even in the churches.  I would hope that through the various groups in town we can bring a heightened awareness of those 'invisible' poor who are struggling to feed their families and find shelter during cold Iowa winters.

Jesus said, "the poor you will always have with you" but that should not stop any of us from working to lesson the pain of those in poverty in our community.  Jesus also said, "Whatever you have done to the least of my brethren, you have done to me."

Fr. Fred

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