Other ways you can offer help

My last blog focused on how sometimes our good intentions to ‘help’ can really ‘hurt’ a person’s chances to clear up a debt and get a fresh start.  By having someone first apply with agencies who may be able to offer financial assistance, there is a greater possibility that multiple sources of assistance could help whittle down the amounts owed.  No pockets are deep enough to clear up a debt entirely alone.  There are times when agencies run out of funds and have to wait till the next quarter before they can offer any assistance.  It’s at those times that individuals with emergencies will need to fall back on churches.  If you have written checks for things that could have been taken care of by agencies, you may have ultimately used up your funds as well.  Then, where would individuals turn?

There may be other things that can hurt a family.  All too often we see individuals who work very hard at finding others to help solve their financial problems.  Back to the dilemma of your decision of whether or not to help knowing there are children in the household.  Think about it….what kind of role models are we encouraging by supporting the continuation of generational poverty?  Sometimes sitting down with an individual and reviewing their money management skills will help more in making a long-term difference, not only for the head of the household, but for their children.  What a greater impact this can have instead of just writing a check.  Taking the time to work one on one with someone who is struggling sounds more like what Jesus has taught us….and isn’t this what Christians are challenged to do?

So, the next time someone comes to you asking for help, offer them a hand up.  Check with ACCESS Operation Second Mile caseworkers (caseworker@accessofwestmichigan.org)  and we can give you information and referrals to agencies currently offering assistance as well as suggestions for additional help.   If you were considering offering some financial assistance, we can make a note of this and hold this offer until all agency decisions are made.  ACCESS OSM wants work with you to be sure that helping is not hurting.