There is a weekly meeting of our Bible Study which is not only holding steady numbers, but actually slowly growing. These ladies are teaching me more than I am teaching them. The most important thing we are doing is building community. One of the first times we met, I asked the question, as an ice breaker, "If you needed help in any form, who would you call?" Sadly one of these dear ladies could not think of a single person. Poverty tends to create isolation and isolation grows loneliness. Through the efforts of the amazing team at The Well, we are slowly fostering connections, creating opportunities for interaction, and beginning to see relationships and friendships forming.
The Well has the important task of assisting with personal dignity in mind. Those who attend The Well are given opportunities to earn points in a number of ways. Attending Bible Study earns you points as well as the monthly Cooking Club, GED classes, Art classes, Bingo for the older ladies, and many other opportunities including bringing in your paycheck stub to get points. These points can then be used for the laundry facilities, to shop in the pantry, redeem gas cards, and shop in the pop up clothing store. The points earned enable those served to fill in the gaps in their tightly stretched finances.
These ladies I am meeting with are either trying to live off their social security retirement checks, or work sometimes two or three jobs to make ends meet. They are not lazy, and have all worked their entire lives. They have worked in mostly low paying jobs due to their education level. Almost all of them struggle with making ends meet. An unexpected illness can bring the anxiety of trying to buy prescriptions with already stretched finances. Buying the antibiotic needed can mean forgoing a trip to the grocery store. That's when The Well can assist by redeeming those points for groceries from the pantry.
Most of us take for granted a Wal Mart trip for soap, shampoo, toilet paper, socks, or cream for our winter dried skin. This is a luxury for those caught in the grips of limited available funds. What most of us consider necessities become luxuries for many.
Helping without harming is the aim of the Well. Offering assistance without the feel of being given a handout instills pride in those who are served. Knowing you earned the points to use for filling in the gap of items needed for day to day existence builds confidence and the feeling of self worth.
We are building community with our neighbors we have never had the opportunity to meet before. The success stories are growing as the ministry builds. One of our ladies recently found full time employment, rides are being offered to those without transportation, friendships are growing, and community is being formed. Life is always better when lived shoulder to shoulder.
Would you like to help? We would love for you to get involved and meet some of your neighbors. Thursday and Bible Study with the ladies has become one of my favorite times of the week. What a blessing to meet new neighbors and grow community. Pray for the Well and our ministries, as we pray for you and your community.
Have the same concern for everyone.
Do not be proud, but accept humble duties.