Monday, August 30, 2010

Project Access

I just love something that my church does a few times throughout the year. It's called The Church has Left the Building. Yesterday, Michael cleaned up graffiti and I put together care kits for an organization called Project Access.

Project Access helps the working poor that do not have health insurance. Here are some facts:

•There are currently about 500,000 uninsured in Dallas County

•66% have family incomes below 200% of federal poverty level

•30% are children younger than 18

•76% of the working poor are U.S. citizens

•58% of the working poor are Hispanic

•More than 20% of DCMS' active membership is participating in Project Access Dallas

•In other Project Access Programs 80% of patients have reported improvements in their health

•And ER visits have dropped from 28% to 8%

•As many as 50% of patients become insured through an employer after using Project Access Dallas

We put together simple packs of toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, and soap. Edd Eason, who was running this, said that these items are the first to go when someone's money isn't covering everything.

Edd also had a slideshow detailing the harsh reality of healthcare in Texas and in Dallas. I take it for granted that I'll have doctors to go to when something happens to me. I've learned my lesson this past April that your health can suddenly be taken away from you. You begin to rely on doctors like never before. Your life completely stops until a doctor can figure out what is wrong with you. What would have happened to me if I wasn't able to see a doctor?

Edd told us of a man who was a technician for WFAA. On his way home from work, he pulled over to help someone with a flat on LBJ. He was struck by a car and left paralyzed from the waist down. He receives help from Project Access but he is unable to receive healthcare because he was not born in this country. His is a story that resembles the Good Samaritan in more than one way.

I know that this can bring up politics. As a teacher, I saw firsthand what it does to our education system to have non-English speaking students in the classroom. I would guess that the majority of my students were not citizens. I understand the strain it puts on our hospitals. Edd spoke a little about how administrations come and go, but we are responsible to live as Christians to those in need around us each day. I also am a believer that I live for the Kingdom of God, not the American Kingdom.

I recently read about Becky's trip to New York on her blog. She wrote this:
"After visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, I couldn't help but be struck by the conflicting message our country sends. On one side we have a symbol of opportunity that says,
Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Yet, we also scream a message that immigrants are not welcome here. That message is especially loud here in Texas where instead of a beacon of light, we propose a wall at the border. So which is it? Was the welcoming message a limited time offer that has expired along the way at some point? Do we think our country is full now, unable to support anyone else? Does the attitude of Americans toward immigration differ according to region?"

I ask that you look around you with open eyes and take care of your neighbor with a compassionate heart. Most of us are very blessed with health and the essentials. May we help those that don't have what we do.

1 comment:

Carole said...

This IS quite a quandry! I do feel for the poor. But I think it's Christians' responsibity to care for them and not the governments'. We Christians need to do a better job of it, that's for sure. And I have NOTHING against immigration. But LEGAL immigration would be nice. When you read of the extremely high percentage of crimes that are committed by illegals, it really makes it hard to sympathize a whole lot with them. When you hear of foreign students refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance to OUR flag, while proudly waving THEIR country's flag, all the while living off our government, it just doesn't set right. If they want to live in America, let them come legally and assimilate themselves into American society. I do agree it's the Kingdom of God we live for, but everyone should have to obey the laws or we're going to have a completely out of control society, if we don't already. It's interesting that Mexico and other countries do such a great job of keeping track of visitors to their country and will send them back as soon as their visa is up and they protect their borders diligently. But they expect the US to take their people without question and take care of them. I don't know. I want to do what's right, but it's so hard to know exactly what that is sometime.
I, too, like RE's "The Church Has Left the Building" program. That is Christianity in action! I hope more churches will follow suit.