Do some people choose hunger and poverty?
That question can lurk in the back of the mind even in the most giving and compassionate among us. Yes, people in need struggle with circumstances beyond their control – job loss, poor health, unexpected bills – and as a result are forced to make painful choices between eating and paying for other basic necessities.
But couldn’t it also be suggested that their circumstances are sometimes the result of other choices they might make – the decision to drop out of school, to run up debt, or to start a family without the financial means to support one?
We were both raised with similar, parental advice about financial stability – “it’s all about the choices you make.” And so perhaps it’s not surprising that when we think about poverty, we sometimes wonder how much need and suffering could be avoided.
But then we are reminded of this reality: Everyone makes poor choices in life… it’s the human condition. Whether or not we fall victim to our poor choices depends a lot on those who surround us, show us the way, and help us climb back up when we stumble and fall.
So many of the people we serve may never have had positive, empowering role models, and lack the support of family and friends. They’re going it alone.
And so it falls to complete strangers – us – to help them up when they fall, no matter the reason. That, too, is the human condition.
It is indeed about choices, including the choice to be compassionate. On behalf of those we serve, thank you for making that choice with us.
First published in the Food Bank’s 2015 Annual Report