What does Sequestration mean for Urban Ministry?

Greensboro Urban Ministry is very fortunate not to heavily rely on government funds to support our operations. In fact, only $172,677 came from all government sources last year out of $5,839,172 in revenue (Federal – $67,253; State – $70,578; City – $34,846; County – $0).

However, sequestration will adversely affect the people we serve. Bread for the World, a Christian advocacy group, found that one in 24 bags of food assistance comes from a charitable organization. Federal nutrition programs provide the rest! Urban Ministry greatly appreciates your gifts of non-perishable food and your gifts of time and money that feed thousands at Potter’s House and through our Food Bank. A disaster of Biblical portions would occur if the government stopped providing food and nutrition assistance.

In the fight to abolish homelessness and hunger, government programs are critical. When food stamps, Medicaid, public housing, Section 8 housing, TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and unemployment are cut, waves of new people in desperate need come to our doors for food, shelter, and help getting back on their feet.

A computer glitch last summer at the Department of Social Services prevented many eligible families from receiving their food stamps on time. As a result, Greensboro Urban
Ministry and many other local food pantries were pressed to the limit. I can’t imagine the numbers coming for help if everyone in the food stamp program lost assistance or the school nutrition program was ended. 56% of all Guilford County school children receive free or reduced meals.

If we truly believe we can end hunger and homelessness, government support is essential. As people of faith, we must become the lobbying voice of the poor, the hungry, the homeless, and the powerless. Financial institutions, insurance companies, the utilities industry, gun owners, defense contractors, and many others have their powerful lobbies. Who is going to speak up for and stand for the poor? I pray it is YOU and ME!