Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Group Members. Audrey S, Caroline K, Mora F, Olivia A, Haley N, and Amanda P

Option for the Poor and Vulnerale is the Catholic Social Teaching that tells us that we have a special obligations and job to help those who are poor and in need of support. We also need to help those who cannot protect/defend themselves becuase of their health/age (this ranges from fetuses to the elderly). Although Option of the Poor and Vulnerable seems simple and easy to help, there are many issued pretaining to this Catholic Social Teaching theme. These issues include: hunger, homelessness, and debt. The Catholic faith belives that we should provide care for anyone under these types of circumstances.

Article Links and Summaries/Reflections
http://socialconcerns.nd.edu/mission/cst/cst4.shtml
This article focuses on what our call is as Christians. It also gives background information on what the Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable is and what we can do to help. One important point that the article focuses on is, "As followers of Christ, we are challenged to make a preferential option for the poor, namely, to create conditions for marginalized voices to be heard, to defend the defenseless, and to assess lifestyles, policies and social institutions in terms of their impact on the poor. The option for the poor does not mean pitting one group against another, but rather, it calls us to strengthen the whole community by assisting those who are most vulnerable." This is saying that we are all one body and it is our job to make sure that the poor and vulnerable can have a better life. When they say the poor and vulnerable, it does not mean just those who are financially suffering, but also those who are sick, and those who are spiritually suffering.

http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats
This focuses on the different and horrifying facts of poverty. One fact from the website states that "According to UNICEF, 24,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they 'die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.'" It is terrible to think that thousands of children are dying and most of the world is just ignoring it! In America, when a friend or family member dies, there is a funeral so that that person can leave the world with all of his or her friends and family around them. But in other places, there are children dying and they are not even remembered! Another fact is that nearly a billion people who entered the 21st century were not able to read a book or sign there names. This is astounding because it includes children and adults. In several schools around the country, children can read and write fairly well at the age of five. Even though they do not read or write complicated things, just the basics, they are still learning. To think that there are adults that cannot even write their own name is terrible.

http://articles.latimes.com/1994-07-05/local/me-12114_1_shelter-life
This next article shows a real-life story about a girl and her mother. Erica lives in a shelter with her mother who was no longer able to pay for their apartment after her roommate left. Erica is struggling because she cannot talk to her friends over the phone or even hang out with them after school or on the weekends. Erica is not exactly ashamed of living in the shelter, but if one of her friends were to call, the phone would say the name of the shelter and Erica feels that they will not want to be her friend after hearing this. The shelter will not allow them to invite a friend over to sleep-over and her mother does not have enough money for gas to drive the girls around for a few hours. In society, some people have enough money to pay for a new home for people like Erica and her mother and enough money to buy them gas and food. But, Erica and her mother are still living in a shelter. If we worked together to help people who are poor, which is our duty as Catholics, we could end poverty once and for all!


Organizations involved with Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Free Clinics-
A free clinic is a medical resource for those who cannot afford attention from a regularly paid doctor. The clinics offer their care for free or a very low cost so that anyone who needs medical help can get it. Free clinics are especially helpful for those who do not have healthcare and therefore do not have the insurance to cover doctor’s visits. Free Clinics would be specifically linked to the Option for and Vulnerable Catholic Social Teaching because those who cannot care for their own help are vulnerable in that way and deserve support from others. They usually rely on donations and outside support to continue to help the vulnerable, so it would be kind and beneficial for people to give money to free clinics.

Shelters-
Shelters are temporary residences for people who have lost their homes due to a inability to pay rent. They are usually located in cities because the population of poor people is higher there than in suburban areas. However, there are still many homeless shelters in communities all across the world to help those who are poor and vulnerable. Shelters allow those who have lost their own homes to have a sufficient amount of food and comfort.

Welfare-
Welfare is a program in which the government assists people by supporting them financially. This allows them to receive healthcare, an education, social security, and other living necessities that they would otherwise lack. Many people rely entirely on welfare because they are poor and vulnerable and are desperately in need of these things. As members of the Christian family, we can help these people by donating to charities and other organizations that benefit the poor because than they wouldn’t rely so much on welfare. Welfare is a very smart and very helpful program which allows people to live the life that they have a right to live.

Charities-
Charities are organizations that play a huge part in helping the poor and vulnerable all across the world. A charity is a program that is founded in order to promote social justice and peace throughout the world. Usually they rely entirely on donations in order to help the people which means that a community of giving people plays a large role in the continuation of charities roles in our society. Charities help people who are sick, elderly, or in need financially, recieve the care and support they need and deserve. They are just an illustration of how when many people come together to work towards a common cause, change can be made and great things can happen. Some well known charities are The American Cancer Society, The Red Cross,the Make a Wish Foundation, and many others.

Issues
Homelessness-
Homelessness is the state of a person living without a home and often living on the streets. Homeless people lose their homes because of an inability to pay off rent. The numbers of people living on the streets in cities have increased dramatically and many of these people cannot stay at shelters because there is not enough room for them. Shelter is a basic human necessity and right and is as important as ever to help end homelessness for everyone.

Debt-
Debt is a state that many people go through in which the person owes money to someone or some organization. Millions of people across the nation and across the world are in debt or had to work their way out of it which is a very difficult thing to go through. Many of these people only made a few poor decisions that got them into such a situation that they owe money. Being in debt forces people into a hard position that cannot be broken out of easily. We can help those who are in debt by supporting them as they make several changes in their life to adapt to their new financial situation and giving money to them.


Hunger-
1, 02 billion people throughout the world are in a state of hunger. This means that they do not have any money for food and have to live on little or nothing to eat. It is considered one of the more extreme forms of poverty because it means that the said person does not even have the money for a basic need such as food which means he or she probably does not have the money for insurance, shelter, and many other necessities. Impoverished people who have little access to food are proven to develop illnesses at a faster and more intense rate than others and often, people who are starving die because their bodies do not have the nutrients to run anymore. Hungry people need to be helped in anyway possible because food is a necessity for all people; one that is often taken for granted.

Ways to Help the Poor and Vulnerable
Some ways to do your part in Option for the Poor and Vulnerable are give money to the poor, volunteer at nursing homes, build homes and participate at Habitat for Humanity, donate soup cans to the hungry, and fight against abortion. The elderly and those who can't take care of themselves appreciate any little help that we can give them. It is our duty as Catholics to pray for those who are poor, those who cannot stand up for their rights, and those who are sick and ill.

Thought Provoking Questions
What can we do to help the poor and vulnerable in our area?
Why should we try to help the poor and vulnerable?
What does the Church teach us about responding to those in need around us?


Wordle

The Wordle below contains many of the words that stood out to us from the articles. Try to keep note of the words that you think stand out while viewing our Wiki and then check the Wordle to see if any match!

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