By Theresa Shadrix
The Anniston Star
There is nothing fashionable about poverty. Poverty doesn't look good on anyone and is never in style.
Seriously, I have never heard a financially challenged individual, the monetarily disenfranchised or a plain ol' poor person say, “Wow, I am so glad that being poor is All the Rage this year, cause, ya know, being able to pay my bills and buy groceries is so yesterday.”
The Bible tells us the poor will be with us always.
But, how do we know who they are and what do poor folks look like?
Most people, when asked, will probably tell you the face of the poor is a welfare mama with several kids by different daddies who sits around at home watching Maury on TV, being supported with money from hard-working taxpayers.
The Alabama poverty Project disagrees with this myth by providing numbers that encourage us not to be so quick to judge.
Among their statistics, poverty in Calhoun County is children zero to 17, female-headed households and those too old or too young to work. I guess you could say the faces of poverty in our community are young'uns, old folks and single moms.
So, what does one do to help?
How about when you clean out your closet, don't give away the T-shirt you spilled coffee on three years ago or the pants you ripped when you ate too much Sunday casserole.
If it's something you wouldn't wear, then why do you think someone else will want it?
It is not like poor folks really love wearing hand-me-downs so much that they will say things like, “Man, that coffee stain on that T-shirt is gonna bring out the brown in my eyes.”
Jim Davis, the Baptist Service Center director for the Calhoun Baptist Association, told me volunteers waste many hours sorting through the good and bad stuff that is donated. And I know it is the truth because Jim took my former position at the CBA.
For six years, I smiled and thanked people when they donated clothes and goods from their home, then smiled again when I gave them a receipt. Then, volunteers sighed and shook their heads when they threw out old diapers (no kidding), soiled clothes, old underwear and such.
In our community, there are five organizations that provide clothing for free to those in need. The people are screened through Family Services and referred to them.
If you have clothing that is not suitable for wear, you can donate it to the Salvation Army for recycling. Just make sure to let them know your donation is not for the thrift store.
So, when you are spring-cleaning and you want to donate items to the less-fortunate in our community, just be respectful.
Where you can go to donate:
All Saints Interfaith Center of Concern
1029 W. 15th St., Anniston
Director: Sister Mary Roy
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Monday-Friday
Baptist Service Center South
806 Stewart St., Oxford
Director: Jim Davis
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Monday-Friday
Baptist Service Center Northwest
259 Halls Chapel Road, Alexandria
Director: Jim Davis
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Community Enabler Developer
1411 Gurnee Ave., Anniston
Director: Maudine Holloway
Hours of operation: 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center
206 Francis St. W., Jacksonville
Directors: Mary Agnes Hester and Chalcy Evans
Hours of operation: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
Salvation Army — Recycled Clothes
420 Noble St., Anniston
If you are in an individual or family in need of clothes, then you must be screened through Family Services Center of Calhoun County, 15 E. 11th St., Anniston. Call 231-2240 for intake hours and more information.
Visit the Alabama Poverty Project online at www.alabamapoverty.org.