Oregon Youth Decide to B1
Tell eight youth and three adult volunteers that they will skip food for 24 hours and you can imagine the responses! But once these members of Madras United Methodist Church in Madras, Oregon put their minds to it, there was very little complaining. The B1 campaign raises awareness of issues of poverty locally and globally. B1 stands for one being, being one. The activities are designed to help youth and adults understand the root causes of poverty and wealth inequality. Through this awareness, we are called to action. Charity and justice alone are not enough. Only by taking care of immediate needs and working for justice are the systems of oppression changed.
As part of the experience, the Madras UMC youth walked five blocks to the Madras Gospel Mission. The couple that lives and ministers there, and one volunteer, shared with us the work they do for those in the community who may need a hand up. "The Gospel Mission downtown is open to anyone who wants a clean slate or wants to start over," said one of the youth. When asked what they learned, another young person responded, "There's a lot more poverty than I thought, and a lot more to it than just not eating." Another added, "Poverty can mean hunger, not paying for food, being dirty, being cold, not being able to take care of yourself the way you want to be able to." The only suggestion the youth had to improve the experience was, "We want more adults to do it with us the next time we do it!"
In response, the youth helped pack necessary cleaning items, such as toothpaste, laundry detergent, toilet paper, and soap into bags to be given with Christmas baskets for families in need this Christmas. The youth are also in the process of collecting money for CEREIMI, Advance #09751A, Chile. Since 1990, CEREIMI has opened its doors to children from that area with economic and emotional needs. CEREIMI provides a nutritious meal, medical attention, and help with schoolwork. In a town of high social vulnerability, including exposure to high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, CEREIMI is like a tree, offering shelter, protection, and a place to be reminded of who they are, and where they know they belong.
(Article is reprinted with permission from Jill Plant. The article may be found at Madras UMC.)
Date posted: Dec 07, 2009