Give more than you get this holiday season


Editorial Board

The Issue:Homelessness and poverty aren’t just “big city” problems; both are prevalent in South Dakota.

The Stance:Poverty and homelessness can be remedied with a little time, money and effort.

At any given point in the year, especially near the December holidays, you can eavesdrop on students complaining about how broke they are. They talk about how little money they have to spend on beer for the weekend, to buy gifts for their parents, significant other, roommate, coworkers, etc. We think our bank accounts are tapped dry, but there are people who are truly broke around us.

In South Dakota, 202 adults and 337 kids are living in multifamily homes. That means many families are being forced to share houses or apartments intended to hold only one small family. In one extreme case, seven adults and 22 children live in one four-bedroom house.

According to the Housing for the Homeless Consortium, four adults and one child are homeless in Brookings. Teri Johnson, senior pastor of the Brookings First United Methodist Church, puts it best when she says, “In my mind, one adult and one child is a problem.”

Yes, we are at a point in our lives where we have less money than we used to have when we lived with our parents, but we can still help. If you have anything in your closet that you don’t like, donate it to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Fashion is subjective, and someone else might love it. Any extra food that would just sit in your pantry or expire in your fridge over Christmas break would be more than welcomed by Harvest Table or the food pantry.

If you don’t have any stuff you can spare, your time is just as valuable. Groups like the Salvation Army, Our Neighbor and Habitat for Humanity as well as many local churches utilize volunteers for outreach projects to help these families living in poverty.

Hopefully someday housing will be more affordable and wages will be paid in proportion to the ever-increasing cost of living, but until that happens, we can do our part to help out our neighbors.