We all go through times when we need the support of those closest to us. For some people, their strife is so severe and constant that the only way they can make it is with government and charitable organizations’ aid. However, since the founding of America, the church has been one institution that’s always been there to uplift communities across the country.
As times have changed, churches have evolved their services and their means of providing them, but their presence has remained constant. Please continue reading to learn more about the various ways churches impact their communities.
Churches feed the hungry.
Hunger is much more prevalent than you’d think it’d be in the United States, given the country’s world-leading wealth. Every night, there are millions of people right here in America who go to bed hungry, and, as bad as the problem is, it would be much worse if not for churches.
There are plenty of churches who run food banks, and there are also quite a few that serve at least one hot meal a day. If you’re struggling to put food on your table, you should reach out to your local church for help. As much as it may hurt your pride to need help, the good news is that help is there. And if you don’t need help and are in a position to give, maybe you should consider helping the church in your community. At least you know the money you put in your offering envelopes will be used for the good of the community.
Many churches offer shelter.
Homelessness is another pervasive problem that you wouldn’t expect to be so common in the United States. There are over half a million homeless people in the United States, and 60% of those in shelters are in shelters run by churches.
One of the main reasons people turn to the church as a first resort when they find themselves in need of a place to stay is they value the spiritual support and guidance they receive in addition to a bed. It’s difficult enough when you’re unable to make ends meet, and having to reach out to others for a place to stay can feel like an assault on your self-esteem, especially when you’re looking after a family.
Many of the people who volunteer or work in church shelters were once residents of that shelter. That means you get the support and spiritual guidance of people who’ve experienced what you’re going through first-hand.
They have outreach programs for troubled teens and young adults.
Crime is an eminent element in many impoverished communities all over the United States. The correlation between poverty and crime is common knowledge, but in the court of law, difficult circumstances don’t exempt one from the consequences of their actions. It’s hard to help someone once they’re in the system, but many churches offer programs to steer troubled teens and young adults away from negative influences before they get in serious trouble.
Some churches also run prison ministries to help people in lockup to cope with their situation, accept responsibility for their actions, and rehabilitate their lives. Sometimes, when someone in a community doesn’t know how to search if someone is in jail or not, the church can use connections to find out for them.
They help the elderly and disabled people with strenuous tasks.
It can be difficult for older and disabled people to maintain their homes and lawns as their physical abilities decline. Some churches have programs where they go into neighborhoods on weekends and help people with mobility issues with everything from keeping up their lawns to walking their dogs for them. Even if you needed someone to help get your house ready for winter or change the oil in your car, there’s probably someone in your local church who would be willing to aid you at no cost to you.
Churches aren’t just places of worship—they’re collections of people who love their communities and the people in them. If you find yourself needing food, shelter, guidance, or even a hand around the house, your local church is one of the first places you should turn.