Today on the train I read several articles that relate to my work here at World Hunger. I suppose this is not surprising given the current economic situation.
Paul Krugman commented on the Federal Reserve open market committee’s prediction that “unemployment would remain substantially above its longer-run sustainable rate at the end of 2011, even absent further economic shocks” and that “more than five to six years would be needed for the economy to converge to a longer-run path characterized by sustainable rates of output growth and unemployment and by an appropriate rate of inflation.” It looks like the Church will have several opportunities to offer food and drink “to the least of these” for quite some time.
David Brooks explained why those who are in part responsible for this mess need to nonetheless receive governement aid. Apparently that old biblical adage that it rains on both the just and the unjust still holds true.
Perhaps the most compelling article to me described the increased use of food pantries and how the “next layer of people” (secretaries, nurse’s aids, child care workers, and so on) have begun to seek help. What I was most struck by (and I’m still formulating my thoughts on it) is the shame that many of these people felt for seeking help in a food pantry. I think it reveals implicit assumptions about people who need this kind of aid and the stigma that being needy carries.
I found myself thinking about the assumptions that I bring to the table when I think about those who are most vulnerable. How would I feel about myself if I found myself in their shoes? What misguided assumptions do I need to actively address?