37 million people in poverty in the U-S, Christians reach out

By April 10, 2006

USA (MNN) — High fuel costs are just adding to the problems of the urban poor in the United States. Reports indicate that there are 37 million people living in poverty and that number is expected to increase as the cost of living climbs higher and higher. This segment of society is often forgotten, but they’re not being forgotten by Here’s Life Inner City .

President of Here’s Life Inner City Ted Gandy says they plan to help thousands during the Easter holiday through their ‘Easter Bag’ outreach. “We are in the midst right now of putting together 31,000 Easter Bags for children and doing it in 16 cities across the country. So, we’ve got a lot of volunteers that are having the joy of doing some things that are going to make a real difference among America’s poor.”

Here’s Life originally had a goal of 28,000. “As our staff went out and purchased the supplies through the donations that came in, we just began to see some generosity among some of the suppliers. So, we’ve been able to stretch that out, which we’re thrilled with because the need just goes on and on.”

According to Gandy, higher fuel costs have forced parents to make tough decisions. “We’re seeing a tremendous amount of hunger that’s going on. Families, this winter, have had to choose between heat and food.”

Here’s Life is partnering with inner city churches to help them begin ministry with families. “We provide these Easter Bags and then a church or ministry really thinks through how they can most effectively reach out to the children in a way that can also reach the whole family.”

Candy, fruit, toys, crayons and a children’s version of the Easter story are included in the bags which help provide opportunities to share the Gospel. “We actually work with our partner ministries to think through a strategy of utilizing these compassionate products to begin an ongoing relationship with a family. When they provide some acts of compassion toward those families there’s a real empowering of the Gospel.” Eventually, Gandy says, many of them turn to Christ.

The Easter Bag distribution will continue through Easter. Pray that this outreach will lead to many opportunities to share the Gospel.

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