Praying and Advocating with Those Affected by Natural Disaster
Rosie, an imaginative fifth-grader, tries to distract her mind from hunger pangs as she learns and grows in rural Colorado. Her story is told in the 2013 documentary film A Place at the Table (Movie still courtesy of Participant Media).
Natural disasters hit Americans living below the poverty line especially hard. They are less able to evacuate in the days and hours leading up to natural disaster, and they don't have the means to recover as quickly. They might not be able to splurge on a hotel room if they're displaced from their homes, or replace items lost in a flood. And they can't easily afford to restock their refrigerators if food goes bad due to a power outage.
Right now, the small town of Collabran, Colo., a community whose struggle with hunger and poverty is documented in A Place at the Table, the 2013 documentary about hunger in America, is dealing with such a disaster. A massive mudslide on Sunday has left three people are missing, and caused untold property damage. The mudslide in Collbran is not on the scale of Hurricane Katrina, of Typhoon Haiyan, or the Haiti Earthquake—we know the devastating effects those large-scale disasters have had. Still, smaller disasters, the ones we're unlikely to see on the news, can threaten hard-won progress made by people attempting to climb out of poverty. Bread for the World prays for all those affected by natural disaster, and works to protect programs that help people dealing with their aftermath, no matter the scope of the tragedy.
As seen in A Place at the Table, the community of Collbran is filled with caring people, always ready to rally around those in need—they're already collecting donations, food, and supplies for rescuers and those who've been displaced by the mudslide. Still, recovery may be difficult for many residents.
"Our most pressing concern is about the people who are missing," said Bread for the World President David Beckmann this morning. "But low-income people are often hardest hit by natural disasters, because they find affordable housing in at-risk situations, and because they don’t have resources to cope with a sudden setback."
Collbran is the home of Rosie, who spoke so eloquently in A Place at the Table about trying to focus on her schoolwork with a rumbling stomach. It's where Pastor Bob and Michaelene Wilson of Plateau Valley Assembly of God Church transport four pallets of food from a food bank twice a week to distribute to hungry people in their community; it's where teacher Leslie Nichols delivers food bags to the homes of students who come to school hungry.
Our thoughts and prayers are with them and all of the people of Collabran, Colorado—those who are living in poverty, those who are suffering from hunger, and especially the people who are missing, and their families.
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