Home > Opinions > Poverty an issue we can all solve

Poverty an issue we can all solve

September 17, 2010

By Ellen Mayfield, Staff Writer

EllenA few months ago I read an article in a magazine about a man who bought a yacht for $1.2 billion dollars. The luxurious yacht came complete with a swimming pool, a helicopter and its own submarine. My heart sank when I read the article.

Somewhere in the world there is a man who owns a billion dollar yacht, and at the same time there is a child who has no family, no food and no home. The idea that there is such an enormous “rich-poor” gap breaks my heart. Sure, if you earn your money, you can do whatever the heck you want to do with it. But with money comes responsibility- a lot of responsibility.

Think of how much food $1.2 billion dollars would buy. Think of how many homes, schools, orphanages and care centers you could build with so much money. And one man spends it on a single yacht, for one single family, for one single reason: greed.

Poverty is perhaps the greatest issue of our generation, if not every generation. We hear so much about it, see so many ads on TV, see so much publicity and some of us wear TOMS (a shoe company who’s One for One program donates a new pair of shoes to a needy child for each pair of shoes sold). But do we actually do anything?

One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing how much money celebrities spend on humanity and charity. So Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt donated $10,000 to a charity, but what about the other millions and millions of dollars they spend on homes and cars and clothing they don’t even need? If the world actually, seriously and truly cared about the state of those at the bottom, I’m convinced there might not be any poverty. I understand that government and law enforcement and wars have a lot to do with this issue, but so does our apathy and greed.

Most of us have nothing close to $10,000 dollars to give to charity, but we do have an abundance of other riches. Instead of taking your old clothes to a consignment shop to get money, try taking them to goodwill instead. Instead of leaving extra food at a restaurant, ask for a to-go box and give it to a homeless person or someone in need. As citizens of this planet and as children of God, it is our job to take care of one another. Compassion and love should always dominate our judgment and greed.

I encourage all of you to get involved in something greater than yourself. Volunteer somewhere, give your time, give your love, teach or build things. Do something. Remember that there will always be someone worse off than you, and when you think you have nothing to give, think again.

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