Monday, April 7, 2008


I see it every day.
I've lived in the middle of it every day.
I've driven past it every day.
I've read about it every day.
And every day my heart breaks when I take the time to really see the poverty that is all around me.
I just returned from a road trip to Michigan and as I drove the back roads I would see homes like you see in this post and they would be right next door or across the street from beautiful homes.
They're everywhere -
The poor.
The disadvantaged.

On my trip, when I was in my brother's home (and my mom's home, my sister's home, my other sister's home - get it???), in his neighborhood, in his part of town, I was surrounded by gorgeous homes with no hint of poverty anywhere we drove if we stayed in "his" area. If I allowed myself I could have forgotten that there was indeed poverty just down the road a few miles.
And as I sit here typing on my laptop, I've got my feet up on my ottoman in the sitting area of my master bedroom, with the temperature set so I'm perfectly comfortable, plenty of light from the four lamps that surround the room, my cute little convertible sits in the garage safe from the elements, my children are all safe, Clay down the hall in his bedroom and his two brothers safe at college. And their daddy is resting comfortably in the living room watching some {ridiculous} debate show.
My point?

My point is this.
It's wrong. It's just wrong.
And I'm not saying that it's wrong because I'm not doing anything to fight povery because I am.
My husband and I give to the church, we support a missionary, we often give money to those in need and I feel certain that you, too, are doing something to help fight poverty.

But, y'all, none of us are doing enough. We need to do more. For the children.

I've done some research and have decided to add World Vision to my list of giving. ( As a child sponsor, you can help save a child from a life of poverty. When you make a gift, your contributions are pooled with that of other sponsors of children in the community where your child lives. Your child receives health care, education, nutritious food, and the entire community benefits from access to clean water, agricultural assistance, medical care, and more.

There are so many ways that each of us can make a difference and I offer this blog post as a place to brainstorm, give others information on ways to help with child poverty, anything that you think will help us all become more aware of poverty in the life of the children not just of the world, but of our own cities and towns. AND, ways to fight it!

Thanks, y'all, for listening to me. I am so blessed and I have not been giving back enough.

Those days are over - God has laid this on my heart in a big way and I don't plan on shutting up about it for a very long time. Please let me know if you would like to join me in this fight and give me/us your ideas and specific plans!



sammy said...

I totally understand what you are saying... I grew up as one of those very poor kids that no one wanted to really come into my home and I didn't want them either... it was so embarassing to have them see my family sleeping on used mattresses on the floor and living in a old wreak of a basement house where the bathroom was right across the front door... we always laughed you could be sitting on the pot and answer the door at the same time... We laughedd but really it was so humilty... I just wanted to die each time I was in there and someone knocked on the door! We live in to rich of a country to have anyone live like the pictures you showed anymore! Thank you Jan, for listening to God's word on this. I would somehow like to do all I can do to help you in your endever..

Laurel said...

ummmm.....don't take this the wrong way, but what about the children in OUR country? I just found it a little incongruous that the photos in your blog were of places here, but this particular organization, and more specifically the adopt-a-child portion of it focuses on children in other countries. They seem to send help to the U.S. in emergencies, but not on a regular basis.
Don't get me wrong - I know that your heart is totally in the right place, but as you have so movingly shown, we could use some (maybe a lot of)help right here at home, too.
(hey, what do you expect from a bleeding heart liberal Democrat?)

jthom03 / Jan Thomason / said...

hey, laurel, thanks for your comments!
i think perhaps i didn't make myself clear in my post so want to clear up what i said, what i meant to say, here.
first, world vision - i said in my post that i was ADDing world vision to our list of giving and simply, that's what i did.
i ADDed it to an already existing list of giving.
i probably wasn't clear that as i live in the middle of poverty that i do many things and give a lot in time and money to do what i can to help alleviate the problem in my little corner of the world.
i would really appreciate it if you would list some agencies here in the comments section of this post of agencies that specifically deal with the problem of poverty in America that people can research.

I appreciate you taking the time to comment and look forward to your ideas to help with this horrific problem - child poverty.
AND I can't wait to see you in Portland in October! It will be so good to see you:)

Laurel said...

Thanks, Jan, I get it now. Hey, if I was anywhere near as good at giving as you are, I would know which agencies to recommend.....but I'm not and I don't - I know it doesn't work this way, but when I can barely pay my own rent some times, I have a hard time being willing to give money. Time, yes. Goods, yes. Money.....not so much. My ex was an inveterate money-giver, and I may...scratch that....DO still have issues around that. Gee, ramble much, Laurel?
I've had to cancel 2 trips already this year due to changes in the company I work for (i.e. - no more bonuses!), and am really praying that I can still make it to Portland. We shall see.

jthom03 / Jan Thomason / said...

Hey, Laurel, time is good!
Time: rocking crack babies at the hospital, mentoring elementary school children, volunteering at shelters, food pantries. There's so much we can do even if we ourselves don't have the funds to give money to agencies.
If you really want to do something, pray about these ideas and see what comes from it.

Thanks for your interest, L.
Hope to see you in October!
xoxo, Jan

kecia said...

you have such a good heart, jan. sometimes i feel overwhelemed with my own life that i have nothing left to give. but i know some day i will be in better position and i look forward to that day.

SweetAnnee said...

OOh Jan..I know EXACTLY how you feel about this
I sometimes feel bad to have so much when others have so little.
God has NOT laid it on my heart to give it ALL away, but I know it is NOT right.
I continue to give, but I will give more when all my medical bills are paid.
Thank you for reminding me
and spreading the word

I use to live in a nice house amid poverty and
I would pray about it ..

Love and HOPE for equality..Deena

cookievf said...

Hi Jan! So glad I followed your link from the AD workshop! This is such an important issue. Giving back is near and dear to my heart and I love what you've shared here.

Thank you for taking the time and giving us something to "chew on."

My husband & I have been mentoring at-risk children for 11 years and we both agree that it's the MOST important thing we've ever done. I just renewed a big-sister "match" with a 15 year-old young lady THIS WEEK and I'm bursting at the seams with joy, about it. I plan to do a post on our relationship because of you! - vicki xo


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