You can read Irma's God Sighting below or listen to it online.
As you know, we have been serving increasing numbers of neighbors at the Open Door Pantry. Last July we served 22 neighbors; this year in July we served 44, and because of the holiday, we were open only 3 Wednesdays.
We have been considering ways to add to our service work through advocacy. Adding the voting table seemed to be one thing we could do. This would provide opportunities, if needed. Guests could register to vote and discuss the importance of voting and the issues on the ballot and pending in the state legislature and Congress. Such discussion possibly would enhance motivation to get out and vote.
We had voting conversations with about 35 of those who came in last month. All stated they were registered voters and their address was current. The was no need for registrations. Even though several individuals had previously mentioned that they did not vote because they felt it didn’t make any difference, these folks were interested in learning more about issues so they could be more informed voters.
The issues we were highlighting were Mo. Prop A and the Congressional SNAP revision currently under consideration. They were given a half page with a non-partisan, very succinct description and pro and con comments. For the ballot issue, MO Prop A, the discussion was about what a yes or no vote meant and what they felt about union membership versus participation in paying the cost of wage negotiation or not.
SNAP is a part of the Farm Bill about to be considered by a conference committee to resolve differences in a House and Senate version, primarily differences in the SNAP. UMC has position for defeating any changes in SNAP that will create additional barriers for obtaining food assistance for those in need. Those neighbors who agreed were given a card to sign for Senators Blunt and McCaskill which represented the neighbor’s view on this issue.
In one situation a woman who at first said she wasn’t interested in talking about voting, heard the conversation with other neighbors and came over, pulled up a chair, and said “Let me see that paper. I want to sign the letter.”
On another occasion, a woman said, “Do you have any more of this description on Prop A. I live in a Senior Building. There are 40 apartments, and I will put one of these on each door.”
All expressed a commitment to go to polls to vote.
God Sighting: Our neighbors are very grateful for the items they take with them from the Open Door Food Pantry. They also desire to be part of solution to these social concerns, want to be informed voters, and are grateful for the opportunity to discuss their experiences and learn.
I am very encouraged by the advocacy commitment of this congregation – to provide service and to advocate for changes for a system that improves lives.
Thank you very much.