Monday, October 24, 2011

Just Soup

Okay - here's my soap box for the day.

A local soup kitchen was granted an "Extreme Makeover" here in Sussex County last month. This soup kitchen has been in existence for quite a while, albeit in another location. The new location requires a permit to actually SERVE the soup there. She can make it, but can't serve it ( I've discovered that bureaucratic inadequacies are everywhere.)

So, the neighbors in this...what I would call..."at risk" neighborhood, are upset about the possibilities of child molesters, rapists, drunks, thieves, etc. invading this soup kitchen and endangering their families and quality of life. Okay, FIRST....Cool Spring is a huge drug cell in Sussex County, so the drug dealers are already there. But let's think about what's happened in Sussex County over the past couple years. I don't need to go back any further than that, because recent history gives me plenty of ammunition.

There are people in our lives that we expect to be able to trust, right? Religious leaders, teachers, coaches, doctors, police officers, etc. These positions are naturally held to a higher standard because of their duties and responsibilities. They are dealing with people's trust, and often times trust that is greatly needed in times of duress, tragedy or illness.

In Sussex, we've had a well-known pediatrician end up in prison for savagely molesting and raping hundreds of local children while they were in his office, getting medical care.

We've had a football couch who has been convicted on doing the same to his own children.

We've had our share of priests, police officers and teachers who have been on the front page for any number of offenses - sexual abuse, fraud, theft, rape, you name it. THESE people are our neighbors, all the time. They are the people we "know" and "trust". These people were not frequenting soup kitchens, but had families and children and jobs and enough money to pay their bills.

We can't control who the bad guy is, where he lives or who he'll assault next. Just because people who are down on their luck frequent a soup kitchen when necessary, does not mean that our community is in any more danger than it is every second of every day. We all take risks every time we walk out the door, and everytime we put our trust in another human being (Bernie Madoff???) The trick is to learn how to recognize the risk and still HOLD ON TO YOUR EMPATHY. There's enough coldness, cruelty and inhumanity in our world without putting the stiff arm on a soup kitchen.

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