It’s been a few weeks since we’ve had a blog post. A lot has been going on around here, keeping us all busy and on our toes.
Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency Blog
The Holiday Season is fully upon us. Trees are decorated, lights are strung, and shopping is in full swing. If not careful, it is all too easy to get caught up in the activity and forget to appreciate the magic and wonder that is Christmas.
Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency will be distributing USDA Commodities Wednesday, December 11, 2013 and Thursday, December 12, 2013.
For more infomation contact your local outeach office.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow. It is the particularly appointed day of the year that we are supposed to take the time to reflect on all of the things in our lives that we are thankful for. And really, no matter what our particular situation, we all have so much to be thankful for. So let’s get started.
One of the reasons that there is no simple solution for poverty is that there is no one simple path to poverty. Often the path is a slippery slope: quick to slide down into poverty but difficult to climb back out.
Yesterday morning as I rushed through my usual morning activities, I took a minute to look outside the window. And guess what? It was snowing!! I know that the forecast called for light flurry activity, but these were fat fluffy snowflakes! Amazing that just 15 hours prior, I had to turn the ac on in the car because the afternoon sun was so warm. Even after 8 years in Tennessee, the weather here never ceases to amaze me!!!
Halloween is over, and the Holiday Season has officially begun. Now, before the Thanksgiving purists get all over me, let me clarify: in my mind the next two months are just collectively referred to as “The Holiday Season”. I think that the main reason is because around here the Holiday Season, Thanksgiving and Christmas, is a flurry of activity. The Holiday Season is my favorite time of the year at MCCAA because there are so many opportunities to participate in something that can put a song in your heart and a smile on your face for weeks to come. Before you know it, you catch yourself humming Jingle Bells and playing with baby dolls, feeling all wrapped up in merriment.
I first came to work at MCCAA in the late fall of 2006. In my early days with MCCAA, I was so green-every client, every situation broke my heart, and I just knew that we could save the world. I sometimes wondered what would be our goal as an agency once we eradicated poverty in Middle Tennessee. Years later, I have changed. I am far less naïve and know that our mission as a human services anti-poverty agency will never be truly complete. Poverty is perpetual, like the incoming tide: as soon as you clear one wave, here comes the next.
One of the outcomes that MCCAA diligently focuses on is providing resources and services that help equip vulnerable low-income populations, such as the elderly and disabled, to maintain an independent living situation. The Elderly and Disabled Services Program, LIHEAP, and Commodities are a few of the programs that MCCAA offers that are focused or are geared towards providing services to these people.
As an agency that is funded in large part through federal dollars, it is only natural that many of our customers and partners have questions about how does the partial U.S. Government Shutdown affect MCCAA?
I have fairly eclectic taste when it comes to movies. I like sci-fi, fantasy, action, kids, classics, and many other genres. One of my favorite types, (it’s not really a genre), are movies about when a series of seemingly unrelated events is tied together through a common factor. I once saw a movie that showed the life cycle of a $20 bill, appropriately titled $20 Bucks’. Two hours and many stories later, the $20 ended up back in the hands of the person from the beginning of the movie. Sort of a “Circle of Life” thing.
Last week, we looked at How Poverty Thinks. We considered how people in poverty think differently and do not always follow the line of logic leading to good decisions- how we simply cannot understand why “poor” people seem to always make the worst possible choices that only seem to exacerbate their situations. As someone looking in, we want to shout “Why?!? Why did you just do that”? Now there is scientific research to help us understand “How poverty thinks”.
Several years ago I attended a workshop entitled “How Poverty Thinks.” Aptly, the presenter was a woman who grew up in generational poverty and her life had been transformed by Community Action. I’ll admit, for the first half of the workshop, I sat there skeptical- thinking the presenter was just making excuse after excuse, and I was tired of excuses. Then, little by little, I began to put her words together with things I had witnessed. .. and then the truth hit me.
I remember the exact moment I realized that I was stubborn. I had been engaged in a lengthy debate with a college friend. At some point during the debate my point had been proved invalid, but I continued to argue anyway. My friend suddenly stopped and looked me in the face and said “You are the most stubborn person I know.”
Yesterday, Tuesday August 13, 2013, was official Left Handers Day: an entire day dedicated to the celebration of left handers. A news article touted a list of famous people that are left handed: five out of the last seven Presidents, including President Obama, Prince William of Wales, Oprah Winfrey, and even Justin Bieber. In short, left handers tend to be over achievers!!
What does poverty look like? Does it have a certain look? Many of us assume we know what poverty looks like, but do we really? Do we tend to look at all poor or low-income people through the same glasses? Do we assume all people are poor because they won’t work and are only looking for a handout? The truth of what poverty really looks like would surprise many.