Recently, I blogged about how many of the "poor" in the United States are not really poor. While this is true, there are people in the U.S. who are really poor and live in crime infested, destitute neighborhoods. Even though the Bible commands Christians to help the poor, many Christians and churches ignore this responsibility. Instead, they have turned the responsibility over to the government. Such inaction by Christians and takeover by the government has not truly helped the poor, but has made many Christians spiritually poor.
While there is no single answer to problems involving the poor, one solution is for Christians to be active in helping the truly poor. One such couple is Bill and Shannon Merck, who are members of Immanuel Baptist Church in Maple Shade, New Jersey. Seeing Camden, one of the poorest communities in the country, only a few miles from their church, they felt a need to provide real help to truly poor people. For the second year in a row, they organized a Christmas concert to raise funds. The concert took place at their church and involved members of their church, as well as talent from the area. They even had a band from New York City. At the end, Shannon sang and shared her heart. Her passion engulfed the auditorium. She explained the need and how they desired to help. Last year, they raised $1,500.00 and gave coats, gloves, books, and toys to needy children. This year, they identified over twenty children, twelve of whom are currently homeless, to help. These are people who truly need help. Again, they will provide coats, gloves, books, and toys. In addition, they identified a center that provides after school care for poor children. They will assist this center and the center helps children with physical needs and shares the gospel with them. If there is more money, they have identified other needy children through DYFS, whom they will help.
Bill and Shannon are a remarkable couple who are making a difference in the lives of people. They see a need and are acting. They are not living in their own material filled bubble ignoring those around them. They are not being judgmental. They are not waiting for the government or someone else to help. They are part of the solution. For that, I want to applaud them, am glad that we could provide some help, and that my children could be part of the benefit concert.
PS - if you are interested in contributing, let me know and I will get you in contact with Bill and Shannon.