The “Voice of the Poor” site of the St. Vincent de Paul Society has a wonderful collection of resources for those who wish to address root causes of poverty.The Vincentian Family was recently reminded that we must also address root causes of poverty as John Paul challenged ut some 20 years ago.
“Some stories come along at the right moment in your life. Here’s a story that has never left the back of my head since the day I heard it…
A villager is walking by the river early one morning. The villager looks out into the water and sees a baby floating down the river. Horrified, the villager races into the water, grabs the baby, and brings the baby to shore. The baby is fine. Relieved, the villager looks back into the water and sees another baby floating down the water. The villager again dives into the water and rescues this baby as well. Once more, the villager looks into the water . . . and sees dozens of babies floating down the river. The villager calls out an alarm, and the entire village comes running to the river to rescue as many babies as they can before the water carries them away. This is a village that is mobilized. Every villager is at the river, trying to save the babies from the water. This is a village that is improving lives. Many of the babies are being saved. But the babies keep on coming . . . because no one is going upstream to find out who is throwing the babies into the water in the first place.
“I have come to believe that it is not enough to give food and shelter, important as that is. If I do nothing to change the situations and structures that make people poor, then I’ve only dabbed a bleeding wound. I haven’t stopped the bleeding. I now believe that God wants us to stop the bleeding. He wants us to go upriver, to fix the problem, not just minister to the symptoms of the problem.”
Dennis Holtschneider – Keynote address to the National Vincentian Familyh Gathering in St. Louis on April 24, 2005