» download (mp3, 10:41)

We last spoke to Dr. David Hilfiker in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when he gave insight into the issue of poverty and its modern history. We’re hearing from him again after several years and, although much has changed, Hilfiker’s message about caring for the poor has remained consistent. He discusses how poverty is as much of an issue now as it ever has been, and how the current economic situation might provide an opportunity to renew a social contract between the affluent and the needy.

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We collectively have learned to see homeless on the street and go about out business without being touched in our hearts. We see real human suffering every day on TV and go on with our own lives without a thought of what we each might do to help. I believe we are desensitized by the availability of "news" but absent of the thought that we can and should take some action to help. We have become the one who crosses to the other side of the street and goes on, taking on action.

I greatly appreciate people like Dr. David Hilfiker who not only are doing what they can, but we are also willing and able to bring hope to us that there IS something we can do. I think the news is presented as so big, so vast, so hopeless that we as individuals turn away, thinking there is nothing I can do. If the government can't, and the corporations can't, and the wealthy can't, then surely I can't.

The reality is that great ideas that really help at least some of the poor, some of the time, are almost always the brain child of one or a few people who are not rich, but willing to roll up their sleeves, raise the funding, and do the work.

Thank you, Dr. Hilfiker and others like you. We need to hear more of these stories.