Recently I have been troubled by the disgruntled mutterings of those that say the Mobile Ministry at St. Timothy (my parish home) is merely applying a band-aid to cover up the larger problems that should really be solved by working for social justice and government reform. I have also heard some say that “these people” need to learn to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and help themselves, and that there should be a limit to what we do to help, because “aren’t we just helping the already dependent poor become more dependent with our handouts?”
Yesterday three of us from the Mobile Ministry met with two of the administrators of the Federal grant funds we were awarded. The purpose of the meeting was for us to define our work and show them our books and prove that our records and goals met the grant standards. Forced into providing a definition to another overseeing entity was a terrific exercise for us all. AND it was a great opportunity to ask the committed administrators for our local Red Cross and county public health department how to answer those that mutter and complain about our “band-aid” work.
I will not quote their answers, but I will tell you a story:
There was a woman, driving her car down a lonely highway in the country. The car had over 300,000 miles on it and the tires were nearly bald, but it was all she had to carry her to her part time job. Suddenly, as she hit a sharp edge of the pavement, a tire blew. After a few long moments of sitting at the side of the road, her heart in despair, her mind whirling with the lack of possibilities for rescue on the dark highway, a man pulled up behind her in a shining, brand-new Audi. Hope rose up within her as the handsome man strode toward her.
“I see you have a flat tire,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Do you remember me? You serve us coffee once a month at our Rotation meetings. I’m here to help you.”
“You know,” he continued, “you really shouldn’t be driving a car with nearly bald tires. And why did your tire blow? You must have been driving negligently. You really should take more care and make better decisions. I don’t want to judge, but it’s obvious to me that you are poor and you make poor choices, so I tell you what I’m going to do. Tomorrow I will call Len Schwartz and set up an account so you can get new tires. Then I will find a driving school for you so that you can become a better driver. And then, if you are still interested in becoming a better person and a more responsible citizen, I’ll send you to auto mechanics school so that you can learn to maintain your own vehicle in the proper manner.”
And then the man turned around, walked back to his car, and drove away.
Are you curious to see what the Mobile Ministry is up to? Read our (always in the working stage) business HERE.