It can be humiliating to be treated as a charity case—the object of someone else’s pity and justification for their pride. Not being able to feed your family can be enough of a blow to your self esteem; but having food (or a house, or other basic need) provided in the wrong spirit can be almost as crushing.
That is why Cross International Catholic Outreach takes care to maintain the dignity of the poor. Rather than take a “Santa Claus” approach, we lend behind-the-scenes support to local churches and ministries already serving poor communities. A needy family is helped by their own parish priest, for example. This not only builds up a family’s self worth and sense of community, it builds up the local church as well.
Whenever possible, we also require the poor to be part of their own solution. For instance:
- Side-by-side with local Filipino Catholics, poor families in Manila help build and paint the homes they receive through Gawad Kalinga.
- Villagers in the Dominican Republic dig the trenches to make way for a clean-water aqueduct provided through their diocesan charity, FUNDASEP.
- And families who can are asked to contribute a token 20 cents a month for their child’s education at Mine Hara Catholic School.
As Catholics, we are instructed to treat others—including the very poor—as we would want to be treated (Luke 6:31). More than that, in humility we are to consider them better than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3). It is with such humility that Cross International Catholic Outreach strives to honor the poor by helping them in Jesus’ name, and with his love.