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An unusually cold winter.

A long winter.

I must not complain. We have an income, a warm home, warm clothes, all the groceries we need, and a pretty good car.  I hope that for you too.

I am thinking of people who are really inconvenienced by this long, cold winter. More than inconvenienced. People who have no regular income, people who have little income, people who suffer. I am thinking of people here in Kent County, Michigan, where I live. Twenty percent of the children come from families below the poverty line. One teacher told me that she always takes some food along to school, because some child may have had only a skimpy breakfast. Someone quoted a single mother as saying, “Now that food stamps have been reduced, it’s become a real struggle.” Heating bills have become a monthly cruelty for many families.

Life has its little ironies. A man was scooping snow down our street a little ways and said, “I am glad for the snow, it gives me more hours of part-time work.”

I remember the hunger winter of 1944-‘45 in the Netherlands when, as a boy, I took my turn in the soup lines. I can still picture the anger of some people, the frustration, and the grayness of it all. For millions of people, similar experiences are now daily reality.

The winter of 2015: fear, suffering, and worry….

Of course not only the poor suffer. People face problems at the job. City and county budgets are severely stressed. Companies face losses. Transportation expenses went up. Accidents brought grief, pain and damage.

Can I help…?

Can you help…?

Can our churches help…?

Can public authorities help…?

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