We have a neighbor who has been out of work for a couple of years. We actually are finding more and more people in their late fifties to early seventies that have been really affected by the economic downturn. We know people who have planned to retire but have to still work because the equity in their houses disappeared. There are others who had planned to keep working but lost their jobs. It's pretty difficult for people that age to find work, especially work that pays well enough to live here.
Although we are still struggling a bit, we are a lot better off than most. We still have our home. Hubby has a good paying job. We have enough to eat. And although we still have some debt from when Hubby was out of work, we are slowly paying things off. I'm so thankful we are doing well.
We also have been involved in a ministry that distributes bread and other food that has been "spoiled" in stores to various people in the area. Hubby picks the food up Friday nights and delivers it to group homes, sober living environments, and to people we know, like our neighbors who are out of work or struggling financially. Sometimes we give extra to people, so they can be givers also. There is nothing like giving to break a spirit of poverty.
We have been amazed at the extent of poverty in such a "rich" place like San Jose. We've been finding more and more people who need help, but because poverty is such a new thing for them, they don't know what to do. Some are hoping the next interview will result in a job. Others are living on retirement savings that are quickly disappearing. Hubby overheard at a party one woman telling a friend that she was down to one meal a day. He delivered some food to her the next morning.
Although we are seeing more poverty, we are also seeing people give more. They are giving more of their time, their possessions, their finances. People pass on the extra food given to them, to others who need it also. Young families receive clothes and toys for their children from those with children who are a little older. We have even been blessed this week. One neighbor we have been giving food to looked on a neighborhood list and found a family who was remodeling and had a dishwasher they were giving away. Another person was giving away a small air conditioner. She asked us if we needed either one of them. One of our adult daughters lives in the attic and fans just weren't enough to cool her room down at night, especially on the 90 and 100 degree days we've been having lately. And even though I tried to fix the dishwasher, it still isn't working very well because of a bent part. So my neighbor was able to bless us by keeping an eye out for things we need. We are blessed!
I hope Hubby can spread this message to people in Nicaragua when he visits them in July. There is so much corruption, so much hoarding of resources, and a lack of care for community property. I understand how it feels when you have next to nothing and you keep whatever you have, even if you don't use it. I still do it to some extent. But I'm finding I'm healing by giving. I hope Hubby will be able to communicate it to his friends, so that they can be healed too. As they bless others, they will be blessed themselves.