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Pastors Needed to Debunk Charity Myth

June 17, 2011, 8:18 am | Posted by Nick Sementelli

We’ve shown before how private charity alone is not enough to fill families’ great need for assistance in these tough times, a reality that highlights just how dangerous even greater cuts to social service programs would be.

Recognizing how dangerous this misconception is, Jim Wallis has issued a call for 1,000 pastors to join him in debunking it. Working on the front lines of hunger and poverty with faith-based charity programs, clergy know as well as anyone how crucial government partnership is to keep struggling families from losing their homes and going hungry.

Here’s the coalition’s letter:

We are local pastors. Our lives are committed to our churches and communities … We work, pray, and do whatever we can to remain faithful to the responsibility of every Christian to help the poor. Still, we can’t meet the crushing needs by ourselves. We do our best to feed the hungry, but charitable nutrition programs only make up 6% of total feeding programs in the country while the government makes up 94% …

We have seen this support allow young people to be the first members of their families to get college degrees, ensure mothers can feed their children a healthy diet, enable those with disabilities to live fulfilling lives, give much-needed medical care to those who can’t afford it, support seniors, provide housing for families, and help people in finding a job.

… There is more need today than Churches can meet by themselves. This is why we join in the “Circle of Protection.”

The need is so great right now that this is truly an “all hands on deck” situation. I hope religious leaders respond to Wallis’s call, and that their message resonates as politicians make budget choices with potentially life-and-death consequences.

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