Individuals, not governments, key to helping poor



In the Feb. 21 column by Tony Magliano "A Lenten fast acceptable to the Lord," the assertion is made that assisting the vulnerable and poor is not only an individual duty but an obligation of our nation's government.

We are urged to demand that our government allocate more money to end child hunger worldwide.

I don't agree with that opinion for several reasons. First, the humanitarian assistance provided by our government often comes with strings attached. We expect nations receiving aid to align their interests with ours and embrace the wishes of Corporate America. Those that fail to comply stand to lose vital aid. Second, federal government intervention often accomplishes little because of high overhead and bureaucracy. The charities mentioned in the article (Catholic Relief Services and Bread for the World ) operate with much greater efficiency and more of the money goes directly to helping the poor. Finally, I don't believe citizens of this country that refuse to give money to those in need should be forced to provide tax dollars to help the poor abroad. Giving should be voluntary and as one recognizes the desperate condition of others their compassion compels them to share their wealth.

I believe a much better approach would be for our government to allow larger tax breaks to those that contribute to charitable relief agencies. They do a much better job assessing the needs of the impoverished and getting the proper help to them.

I believe the words of St. Paul carry special meaning during the season of Lent for all who profess to follow Jesus. We are compelled to "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" Gal. 6:2 May each of us take those words to heart and reach out to those who suffer.

Robert Midura