For the second year in a row, Unclutterer is participating in Blog Action Day. This year’s theme is Poverty, and we’re excited to be adding our voice to the discussion.
My friend Clark, at first glance, is an all-American man. He’s a little over six feet tall, physically fit, clean shaven, and always dressed in a pressed Oxford shirt and khaki pants. He has a master’s of finance degree from the top-ranked college for such degrees, and if you saw him you would guess he’s 25 instead of 32.
Clark used to have a job where he made a hefty six-figure salary and was extremely good at crunching numbers. Then, one day five years ago, he walked into his boss’ office and resigned.
A few weeks after he resigned from his job, he donated most of his possessions to charity. He decided he wanted to dedicate his life to helping the impoverished in his community. He only kept a few of pieces of clothing, two pairs of shoes, a few hygiene items, a Bible, and a notebook.
Clark found a homeless shelter that needed a day manager, broke his lease on his apartment, and officially changed his residence.
A year later, he started a charity in southeast Washington, D.C., and he moved into one of the most crime-ridden, impoverished neighborhoods in the city.
Clark and I often have very candid conversations. I asked him once if he thinks a large influx of money would solve the problems in his community. He agreed that it would help some people, but he added that financial poverty is just one of many contributing factors to the current conditions.
According to Clark, the people he helps are “impoverished in many ways.”
With time, I’ve come to see what he means by this statement. The people Clark helps on a daily basis have problems that are more complex than needing extra money. Mental illness, drug addiction, failed schools, and hundreds more factors contribute to the problems of impoverishment in the United States.
Quitting your job, giving up all of your possessions, and moving into a homeless shelter to work as its day manager is not the path for everyone. It is obviously not the path I have chosen to follow. But, all of us can still find ways to help those in need. We can donate clothing and new or lightly used goods to charity, we can volunteer our time to after-school programs, we can financially support organizations that are helping impoverished communities, and we can ask others to do the same.