There are countless groups that work in the trenches -- organizations that labor incessantly to help feed and clothe the poor, while connecting people in need with viable services and educational tools. Rather than being driven by intensive and massive government bureaucracies, these non-profits are run, led and funded by caring citizens who look beyond themselves to serve their fellow man.
As we think about the sentiments behind Glenn Beck's "Restoring Love" -- caring for one another, while very literally restoring the values that made America successful -- it's hard to ignore groups like Here's Life Inner City (HLIC), the compassionate urban ministry of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). HLIC very literally provides training for churches, food, resources and plenty more in an effort to help set America's poor on a path to restoration.
In the July/August issue of The Blaze Magazine, HLIC is profiled extensively (get your copy here). In the article, we tell you about the group's numerous programs that mix compassion with action to help alleviate poverty and its harmful effects. Throughout the year, HLIC trains church members in cities across America, showing them how to interact with the poor about life skills and the subject of faith, while providing them with food, resources and connections to job training programs, among other elements.
"Boxes of Love" and "Holiday Care Boxes" are just two of the group's many projects. Conducted during the holiday season, these initiatives bring boxes of food -- complete Thanksgiving and Christmas meals -- to the poor throughout U.S. communities. Also, there's the Homeless Care Kits outreach, which offers a blanket, hat, gloves and other winter essentials to keep those living on the streets warm. And who could forget PowerPacks, the outreach that gives book bags and school supplies to kids in need?
The aforementioned tools -- only a few of the many -- are distributed by the church members that HLIC trains. Rather than serving as a minor touch-point for a one-time meal or supply need, these items often leave those who receive them with transformational connections to jobs training programs and other essentials. On the HLIC web site, a story was shared that showcases how these so-called "compassionate tools" work":
People from [an Atlanta] church went into the forbidding hallways of the projects. They knocked on doors and offered a Box of Love as a gift from the church. They also asked people to complete a community needs survey.
Behind one of the doors was Sarah, a young single mom. She was carrying a baby, and a toddler played nearby. The team went through the survey, and the conversation led to spiritual things [...]
The next week she showed up at the church, and she quickly began to grow in her new faith. Through the loving counsel of mothers at the church, as well as the pastor, she walked away from bad relationships and filled her life with positive influences. She started coming to Wednesday night Bible study and Sunday school, and she got involved in the women's fellowship ministry.
Sarah had been on public assistance, but after she began growing in her walk with the Lord, she determined to be more independent. She enrolled in a local technical college and made good grades — there was enthusiastic applause when her grades were announced to the congregation in recognition of all of the positive steps she had taken.
Some people may have an aversion to the Christian elements at play, but this is exactly the key that HLIC believes will help people restore and rebuild their lives. Even if this doesn't appeal to you, the work that the organization does (and there are other non-profits like it with more secular ideals) is noteworthy and worth learning more about.
After all, advocating for small-government, in a sense, puts a greater focus and responsibility on conservatives. If there's a call for a tinier, less expansive government, then there is also an inherent need for individuals to pitch in to help their fellow man.
Rather than relying solely upon the government to tackle the issue of poverty, groups like HLIC empower individuals to get involved in making lasting change in the lives of others. To find out more about HLIC's faith-based approach to poverty reduction, visit the group's web site. And find out more about "Restoring Love" here.
Editor's Note: The author of this article worked as a staff member on the development and media team of Here's Life Inner City prior to joining The Blaze.