We’re seeing more people walk through the doors of COTS broken from the struggles of living in poverty.
Living in hardship can look different for different people; for some it may be food poverty and for others fuel poverty, but both often go hand in hand leaving people to choose between feeding their families or paying their bills. Poverty doesn’t exclude the elderly, or the working, and frequently results in poor mental health and almost always hunger. In turn, the children of those families’ suffer with their well-being, resilience and education attainment being negatively impacted. It then becomes a spiral of generational poverty which keeps people trapped in hardship.
One heart-breaking moment that stood out to me recently was about a Mother and her three young daughters. She came to us broken, desperate, looking for help, and had been living in food poverty for some time. When they came to us they hadn’t eaten for two days. The uncertainty of not knowing when their next meal would be was causing food insecurities for the children, especially for the eldest sibling. Carrying the weight and worries of making sure her younger sisters ate first, coupled with feeling the pressure her Mother was under, she would often go for long periods of time without eating even when food was available. Through conversation we were able to understand the real struggles the family were experiencing and so we were able to help them out of food poverty. Even though we know they are no longer living without food, they’re still living on the breadline. So, that raises the question, how can there be good news for people living in similar situations?
“We sit together as equals, the poor and the privileged. As equality of all people becomes more prevalent in our communities equal access and better opportunities are created for those struggling at the lowest level.”
At COTS we believe in creating strong bonds with the poor in our communities. Through showing heart-felt humility and giving people moral support we’re able to build relationships based on dignity and respect. From these relationships we are not only able to see firsthand the devastating effects of poverty, we also become personally self-aware. Our interactions with the poor pushes us to see differently, recognise our own flaws and turn them into empathy, compassion and gratitude. Knowing where we lack spiritually guides us to let go of our defects and find freedom in coming together to pull people out of poverty. We sit together as equals, the poor and the privileged. As equality of all people becomes more prevalent in our communities equal access and better opportunities are created for those struggling at the lowest level. During hard times we’ve been able to stand in the gaps of injustice for those struggling through the kindness and generosity of others, be it through time, prayer or financial help. All with the hope of strengthening the independence of the poor to break the vicious cycle of poverty. Our aim at COTS is to build a community which is wrapped around the Gospel of Jesus Christ while standing side by side as equals through honesty, unselfishness, purity, and love – and that to me sounds like good news to the poor.