By Stanley Campbell
Rockford is a very generous community- cautious, but giving, to local and overseas relief. Especially during these hard times, local food pantries and soup kitchens receive donations as people are put out of work. And Haiti has more connections with Rockford than expected. The majority of giving once came through churches, but weíve become more secular, and churches appear less generous. Maybe theyíve forgotten the Bible: Jesus strenuously reminded us to “help the poor or go to hell” (Matthew, Chapter 25, verses 41 and 42). I’ve said this all before: We should help to make the world a better place. Thank goodness thereís good folk who do good with what little they have!
And I commend Rockford businesses that support nonprofit organizations. They partner with a socially-redeeming project to advertise themselves as a caring concern, while making this town a nicer place. I admit, I hit a few businesses up myself for donations, and many responded. But some tell me, ìIf we helped you, we’d have to help everyone.” Untrue. A business that helps no one is really not a good business for the community. They should at least help one local group. A suggestion for your giving: send a donation to the House of Grace Day Care, which is housed inside the Kingdom Authority International Ministries at 518 N. Court St., Rockford, IL 61103. Send it on behalf of the children who had to witness a killing.
Yes, that is the daycare where the police ran after someone, cornered him, and instead of clearing the kids out, confronted and shot the suspect in full view of toddlers. The least we can do is send a small gift and our condolences. I sure hope someone thought of sending in counselors for those youngsters. I heard the police spent most of their time trying to get the daycare workers to corroborate their story. Please, donít forget the children.
Then, there are folks who use the American poor as an excuse not to help overseas poor. Those who help neither use that excuse. Help both, for a little money goes a long way overseas.
I support Church World Service (they host a CROP Hunger Walk in October). CWS works with indigenous church groups in almost every country in the world. They do development programs that have long-lasting effect and ìteach people to fishî instead of just giving them food. I also encourage Christians to support Muslim relief organizations, not only to show good faith, but also to build bridges. Christians and Muslims can work together for a more peaceful world. Iíve noticed it takes at least three years before Rockford will support a new nonprofit. It takes a while before Rockfordians trust an organization, then we open wallets and give generously. Good times, or bad, we give.
Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.
From the Feb. 10-16, 2010 issue