WE ARE BETTER THAN MOST
That's an odd statement coming from a non-profit organization. "Non-profit" means "nice," doesn't it? A ministry certainly ought to be non-competitive and non-aggressive. Perhaps "better than most" is meant to be a little softer than "better than everybody else."
This means something entirely different ...
Despite what we hear about the national economy, the great majority of Americans actually have enough to eat every day.
There are a lot of people who have jobs, and they generally earn enough to provide for their households. In those homes where no one is earning wages, folks get by on unemployment benefits or retirement income or their savings. They can apply for social security or food stamps. Money may be tight, but they get by.
Of course, people do run short of money sometimes, despite planning and diligence. When that happens, most will turn to family or friends or their church fellowship, who do as much as they can.
Those who are on their own with no family or nearby friends can still travel to a local food bank, a neighborhood church or a free meal program. Many find help at these good locations.
In fact, when income is disrupted or expenses are multiplied, the only folks with a reason to be hungry are those who don't have a car, can't afford a cab, live miles from a food bank and off of the bus lines. It's folks that are at work during food bank hours, or who have children or disabled adults to look after; people that are ill or injured or too old for a long walk carrying a heavy package. It's anyone whose family and friends are tapped out themselves. Realistically, this category makes up a small portion of the total. By far, most Americans are able to get by without skimping on meals. Most of us are ok.
... but most is not enough.
There are a lot of times when 'most' really is enough. If most of the customers like their pancakes, the IHOP manager is happy. If most of the church members like the music, that's a good Sunday morning. It is common knowledge that you can't suit everyone, and you can't do things perfectly.
Sunday School taught me earthly perfection is impossible; engineering school taught me it is too expensive to try. In a hammer factory, about 90% of the hammers turn out good enough to sell, and the rest are thrown away. Trying to achieve success for every single hammer costs way too much: it's more efficient - and more profitable - to settle on success for most .
Yet this sensible way of managing doesn't work for everything. People want their hamburgers cooked all the way through. The doctor tries to remove every trace of cancer. In the same way, the ministry of providing necessities to people shouldn't be limited by operational efficiency. It's not a business venture; it's respectable clothing, clean and safe shelter, essential medicine, and decent food. It's helping grandparents and children; harried and hopeful parents raising teenagers; scared and hopeful teenagers raising babies. People living alone, feeling alone in the world.
Satisfaction at reaching a reasonable percentage just isn't good enough. Reaching 100% may be an impossible goal, but it's the only goal worthy of our hearts' devotion.
Like other agencies in this area, Charis Ministries provides food for a family's unexpected shortfall.
Like no other agency in this area, Charis delivers food to families in their homes. Sometimes, success means employing the least efficient method of getting the job done, to make sure we don't settle for 'most.'
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As people of faith and compassion, living in a great nation like ours, we have a heritage of pulling together in tough times, of rising to meet a worthy challenge. We know it doesn't feel right to limit our help for convenience, or to claim success when folks are still unreached. We want to make a difference, not just an effort.
Calling it done when there's more to do? Setting moderate goals, limiting expectations? Helping "most people," instead of doing what it takes to help the rest?
We - all of us - are stronger than that. Our calling is nobler than that.
WE ARE BETTER THAN 'MOST'