Nov. 4, 2016: Take action against fear & fight poverty in the process, by Tonya Merrill

November 4, 2016 by

Tonya Merrill

Tonya Merrill

Before I began writing this column, I thought about what it means to be at peace and what enemies lay in the way of positive actions and energy. The greatest enemy to peace I could find was fear.

Zig Zagler writes of fear by saying that, “Fear has two meanings: forget everything and run, or face everything and rise.” As many in our community face the difficult economic times ahead, fear is a commonplace occurrence.

There are roughly 400 people living in Cloud County who have jobs, education and families — but no benefits or savings because they just aren’t able to get ahead. This puts men, women, children and senior citizens at risk of going hungry. Like walking wounded from war, they limp through each day, painfully aware that one car repair, medical bill or other unexpected expense may tip them from daily uncertainty into crisis. Fear becomes their opponent, preventing them from taking action.

But in this community, that fear can be combated by Concordians rising together.

One example of doing just that came in August when together we generated two tons of items for the Cloud County Food Bank. I have never been prouder of this community that at times like that.

We must continue to donate food, money or time to the Food Bank, Helping Hands at Manna House of Prayer and the Salvation Army. We must remain active and support events and drives in the future. Or you can create your own drive to gather items from your neighborhood, job or church. You can use a donation of canned goods to reduce the cost of tickets or as admission for events. And attend events that focus attention on the issue of poverty.

One such event is “Crock Pots for a Cause” on Monday, Nov. 14, from 5 to 7 p.m., where area organizations are invited to cook off against one another with their best crock pot recipes. Later in November is Giving Tuesday (Nov. 29) and bell-ringing as part of the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign (which begins Thanksgiving night in Concordia).

With the holidays fast approaching, our attentions here at the Resource Center are turning toward preparing foods and baking supplies for the Holiday Baskets and gifts for the Holiday Store.

Personally, I love the holiday season so this isn’t really a chore except that I’m painfully aware how many families this will actually be essential to. For many families in this county, the small presents that can be purchased at a reduced rate are the only chance they will have to have presents to open together on Christmas morning. The meals and gifts create peace of mind. They will have normal lives.

The monumental task of stamping out poverty isn’t easily accomplished. But with sustained effort, we can make a direct impact here in Cloud County.

And it is our choice, whether to run or rise. I encourage everyone to rise together and take an action to fight poverty. We have the power to create a more positive environment and push fear back by taking a few simple actions of our own.

 

— Tonya Merrill is the executive director of the Cloud County Resource Center and Food Bank in Concordia.

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