Technically Not Over
Jul 22, 2018
Technically, Not Over
Imagine our surprise when we opened the Star Tribune on July 15th and read the article, “White House declares War on Poverty is over”. You see, every night of the week people of all ages dine at our 27 Loaves and Fishes' locations - we are the largest open-to-the-public meal program in Minnesota. In all, we serve over 2,000 healthy and fresh meals every day. And the number isn’t shrinking; it is growing quite rapidly. In 2013, we served a total of 341,000 meals. In 2018, we are poised to serve 1 million meals.
While it is true, and wonderful, that the unemployment rate is low, poverty can and does still exist, even with employment. When a single, working mother needs to keep her three children fed, Loaves and Fishes is there for her. Or when an elderly couple is trying to decide between paying for medicine or eating, Loaves and Fishes makes the decision easier. And, yes, when a middle-aged gentleman is trying to find work, Loaves and Fishes gives him one less worry during his day.
We wish that there were no need for nonprofits like Loaves and Fishes. But that simply isn’t the case. In fact, our organization, and all others doing great work to help those in need, are still not doing enough. We have plans to do more. Any denial of this need is a dismissal of the wonderful people we serve every day - our doors will be open and the plates will be full.
STEVE RIPPLE and CATHY MAES, Minneapolis
The writers are board chair and executive director, respectively, of Loaves and Fishes Minnesota.