A common philosophical debate that is argued in this country is the importance of self-sufficiency. This debate is found in arguments about the role of government in providing welfare and safety nets for the public. In addition, it is found in the discussion of the latest trend of my generation. Young adults are living at home longer than any other generation of Americans has.
The debate over self-sufficiency in the news often focuses on facts and figures and is primarily concerned with the economy. However, in this debate, there are underlying ethical considerations. While volunteering for the holiday distributions at Valley Churches United Missions, I thought of my Theory of Knowledge class and our discussions of ethics.
When I arrived at the food pantry in Ben Lomond, there was already a line of waiting recipients lined up around the corner. This surprised me, as I had not expected this level of need. In addition, I was taken aback by the friendliness and familiarity of the people waiting in line. One of the women was the mom of one of my friends growing up.
Once all the volunteers arrived, operations director Linda Lovelace walked us through our responsibilities and I was given the task of helping people through the last leg of the pantry and helping them to their vehicles. This gave me a unique opportunity. Instead of just handing each person a bag of food or a frozen turkey, I was able to talk with them as we walked. The people were “everyday Americans.” A young couple and I talked about our experiences in doing community service for school credit.
I expected to find people living in immense need, but instead, many were simply negatively affected by the economic downturn and needed some help around the holidays. This startling fact was what reminded me of talking with classmates in class and the responsibility of members of society.
The small glimpses of the lives of people at Valley Churches reinforced my belief in the good nature of people. Started as a grassroots organization in response to a natural disaster, Valley Churches United Missions is an example of an organization dedicated to service. The organization is not a crutch to those unwilling to help themselves, but is a safety net for those who have fallen on hard times and need help getting back on their feet.
Tyler Bach, senior, Scotts Valley High School