Our Eyes Were Opened


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Gentrifying vs. Gentle-fying

Gentrifying: House is purchased for income building
Gentle-fying: House is purchased for neighborhood building
Gentrifying: Security is based on locks, gates, and systems
Gentle-fying: Security is based on friendships and watching out for each other
Gentrifying: Long-time residents may not be welcome
Gentle-fying: Long-time residents are cherished
Gentrifying: Diversity is threatening
Gentle-fying: Diversity is cherished
Gentrifying: My way is the right way
Gentle-fying: Our way is the right way
Gentrifying: The past is obscured as not important
Gentle-fying: The past is celebrated as part of the heritage
Gentrifying: Us vs. Them
Gentle-fying: It’s all Us


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Donald Trump Prayer Project 4.25.17

God of Wisdom, give Mr. Trump true wisdom—not immediate quips; sound judgment—not sound bytes; and deep substance—not shallow reactions. Amen                                              4.25.17


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Let’s Get Some Perspective…Please

Such huge dollar amounts are being thrown around these days: $14 billion for a wall between the United States and Mexico or $1.5 million for one condominium on a site where a small mom and pop grocery store used to stand.  Because I have worked for years as an advocate for people who are poor and have had to struggle to find resources to assist just a few people with basic necessities, hot showers, assistance with getting a GED or a job, these numbers seem obscene to me.

Just think, $14 billion dollars could provide a year of education for 13 million school children or housing for 49,993 homeless US veterans for eighteen  years or  for adoption fees for all 415,000 kids in foster care in the US AND provide each one a $50k college scholarship!  This seems to me to provide more stability for our country than a wall which doesn’t really work anyway.

The four unit building with the $1.5 million penthouse could provide houses for almost 28 families in Greenville SC at the median price of $152,500.

Let’s get some perspective and not let our fear or our greed blur our vision.


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A DIFFERENT KIND OF MISSION TRIP

A Different Kind of Mission Trip

Church groups plan mission trips for their members. They do backyard Bible schools, build buildings, paint, work in soup kitchens and any number of other activities. The participants often report what a magnificently tiring, yet spiritually uplifting experience the mission trip was.

Mission trips also have their critics. Some ask, “Who really benefits from relatively wealthy Americans coming to a developing country to help out for a week?” Or they ask, “What would the same amount of money spent to take a Mission group to a locale do if, instead, it was given to the appropriate local group to be used in their community with their citizens?”  Or others ask, “Don’t we have needs in our own community? Why do we need to fly or drive hundreds if not thousands of miles to serve?”

One local church, The Bridge, has come up with a unique way to provide the Mission Trip experience for their youth without ever leaving our area. The mission trip youth work with a variety of local groups, serving and learning about needs in their own community. Many churches do this. What makes The Bridge’s experience unique is that the youth stay with three host families in their congregation for the week of the Mission Trip. Their mission week is not a day camp but a true experience of immersion into service. What an inspiring idea!


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Poverty Quiz 2017

How well will you do?

1.The 2017 poverty level for a family of four is:

a. $15,930 or below

b. 24,300 or below

c. $32,570 or below                                                                   Source: liheap.acf.hhs.gov

2. In 2015, the number and percentage of South Carolina residents who lived at or below the poverty level was: 

a. 471,306 or 9.5%

b. 684,634 or 13.8%

c. 897,962 or 18.1%                                                                 Source: wwwcensus.gov./quickfacts

3. Homelessness increased by what percentage in SC since 2010? 

a. 3

b. 20

c. 43                                                                                   Source: greenvillejournal.com/2015/11/27

4. The percentage and number of people ages 25+ in South Carolina with a high school diploma or higher are:

a. 76.6% or 3,800,217

b. 81.4% or 4,038,350

c. 86.7% or 4,301,290                                                                                                          Source:www.census.gov/quickfacts

5. What percentage of Greenville County residents travel in ways other than their own cars?

a. 12.4%

b. 17.8%

c. 21.1%                          Source: Piedmont Health Foundation Report, Dec. 2015

6. What percentage of people age 5+ in South Carolina speak a language other than English at home?

a. 6.9%

b.15.8%

c. 21.4%                           Source: http://www.census.gov/quickfacts

7. Where did South Carolina rank in 2016 in the economic well-being of children? (1 is good, 50 is bad.)

a.22

b. 31

c.37                                  Source: datacenter.kidscount.org

8. Based on Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines that no more than 30% of a household’s income should go toward rent/mortgage, a South Carolina worker earning minimum wage ($7.25 an hour) can afford rent of:

a.$377 a month

b.$402 a month

c.$539 a month

Source: National Low Income HousingCoalition/Out of Reach 2016

NOTE:  The fair market rate (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment in South Carolina (2016) was $772

9. Using the HUD standard that no more than 30% of a household’s income should go toward rent, what is the hourly wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment in South Carolina at the FMR?

a.$11.42

b.$14.34

c.$17.01                        Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition/Out of Reach 2016

10. For every 100 deeply low income households in South Carolina, how many housing units are affordable and available?

a.68

b.37

c. 19                               Source: nlihc.org/Housing Spotlight

NOTE: Deeply low income (DLI) is defined as households with income at or below 15% of the Average Median Income  AMI. In SC the AMI is $45,483.)

11.Which of the following items may be purchased with food stamps? (You may choose more than one answer.)

a. Diapers

b. Comet cleanser

c. Toothpaste

d. Cigarettes

3. Fried chicken from the deli           Source: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligible-food-items

12. What is the average monthly payment which a typical Supplemental Security Income (SSI) individual receives in South Carolina?

a.$733

b.$814

c. $942                                                           Source: http://www.ssa.gov

13. What percentage of South Carolinians experience food insecurity?

a.9.7%

b. 16.4%

c. 27.3%                                                          Source: map.feedingamerica.org

NOTE: Food insecurity means: “Consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.”

14. The hourly self-sufficiency wage for a household of one adult and one preschooler in Greenville, SC, in 2016 was:

a. $11.83

b. $13.49

c. $15.67

Source: The Self Sufficiency Standard for South Carolina2016 report

15. What was the percentage of children in South Carolina under 18 who were living in extreme poverty in 2015?

a. 11%

b. 14%

c. 17.9%                                                        Source: datacenter.kidscount.org

NOTE: Extreme poverty is defined as 50% or less of the poverty line.

16. The consequences of child poverty (15-22% depending on the study) in the US is a cost of $X a year in lower earnings, lost tax revenue, and other negative long term effects.

a. $1 billion

b. $250 billion

c. $500 billion                                                       Source: Foundation Center, websearch 7.29.13

17. How many states spent more per pupil than SC did in 2014?

a. 29

b. 32

c. 43                                                                                Source: http://www.governing.com/gov

18. In 2015, what percentage of babies were born to single mothers in South Carolina?

a.7.7%

b.23.8%

c. 46.4%                                                                         Source: datacenter.kidscount.org

19.How is poverty measured?

a.Determine the amount of money needed to buy the lowest-cost nutritionally adequate diet identified by the United States Department of Agriculture and multiply by 3 and then account for the number of people in the household.

b.Estimate the amount of money needed to provide basic housing, clothing, food, and utilities adjusted by the consumer price index, and account for the number in the family. Source: USDA

20. As recent as 2000, Greenville had excess of low-cost rentals ($500 in today’s dollars). Today the city is short by:

a. 500

b. 1500

c. 2500

Source: City of Greenville Balancing Prosperity and Housing Affordability in Greenville report fall 2016

NOTE: SC population in 2016= 4,961,119

Answers: 1b, 2b, 3b, 4c, 5c, 6a, 7c, 8a, 9a, 10c, 11none, 12a, 13b, 14c, 15a, 16c, 17b, 18c, 19a, 20c

All rights reserved, Beth Lindsay Templeton, 2017


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A Matter of Perspective

Perspective is a wonderful thing.

A story floated around on the internet about a wealthy father who took his son on a trip to show him how poor people live. Where the father saw multiple dogs in the yard, the son saw that in comparison with their one dog, the other family was rich. Where the father saw only a creek, the son saw a swimming area that went on for miles, unlike his family’s swimming pool. Where the father saw lack of outdoor lighting when compared with their imported lanterns, the son saw stars. The father saw no grocery stores close and the son saw that the family grew their own food. The biggest difference in what the father saw and how the son interpreted it is the son saw that his family had walls to protect them whereas the other family had friends to protect them. The son thanked his dad for showing him how poor his family was.

There are times when we get so weighted down with things that we miss the important things like stars and friends. I do not want to romanticize the realities of poverty.  However, we have much to learn from people who live in poverty. They know things that those of us with resources may not know….how to stretch a piece of meat, how to barter for services, the value of relationships, and the joy of simply waking up in the morning.

Maybe a change of perspective would do all of us some good.