January 9, 2012

Deafening Noise (January 9, 2012)

I was recently asked what I'd say if meeting with a CEO about poverty alleviation and then asked, "Okay . . . who do I make the cheque out to?"  I actually surprised myself by my response.

At first I thought to let the CEO know that she could write the cheque to whatever poverty cause resonated most with her heart.  There are certainly many, many worthwhile potential recipients who are battling poverty close to home (addressing homelessness, lunch programs in schools, seniors in need, people with disabilities, First Nation programs, etc.) OR abroad (combating hunger, clean water, AIDS orphans, micro-finance and rural agriculture initiatives, universal education, etc.).  However, what ultimately came out of my mouth shocked me, and in doing so also helped me re-focus my efforts in That Poverty Project.

"Keep your cheque . . . I want your participation."  And then I elaborated, "I want to provide a letter writing workshop for your thousand employees to ask their elected officials to make poverty elimination at home and abroad a top priority.  I want you to tell your friends at the country club to get their companies involved, too.  I want you to use your resources to help others think differently about poverty.  I want your voice . . . not your money." 

I don't mean to discount giving to any number of the wonderful charitable organizations.  Donations to those organizations are appreciated and typically used well to improve the lives of people.  Similarly, I don't want to discourage anyone from volunteering their time or talents to help others.  However, if you could do only one thing, I would encourage you raise your voice.  Let it be known amongst your family, friends, co-workers, and our leaders that poverty anywhere is simply unacceptable in a world of abundance such as ours.  Poverty eradication is a numbers game . . . we need more people involved.

Poverty eradication starts with changing our thinking.  We must open our eyes to see that we live in a world of abundance, not scarcity.  We must recognize that in order to ensure our own human rights, we need to protect the rights of others.  We must treat others as we ourselves would want to be treated.  We must fix our system so that it doesn't merely treat the symptoms of poverty, but rather eliminates or prevents the causes.  We must not be afraid of change, but rather recognize that change can actually save us money while improving the lives of everyone.  We need to say we've had enough of people not having enough.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu summed it up nicely when he said . . .

"If everyone who wants to see an end to poverty, hunger and suffering speaks out, then the noise will be deafening."

Enough of us raising our voices won't be able to be ignored.  It will bring about the change needed for billions of people in satisfying their basic human rights.  It will eradicate poverty.

Phase II - Struggles of the Working Poor Daily Report
Day 67 - 70 (January 6th – January 9th)

Weight at Beginning of Project:  233 lbs
Weight at End of Phase One:  216 lbs
Weight at Start of Phase Two: 221 lbs
Weight at Start of Today:  218 lbs

Available Funds:   $45.13 (leftover) + $9.00 (Jan 6) + $6.00 (Jan 7) + $8.00 (Jan 8) + $0.00 (Jan 9) = $68.13
Funds Spent Today:  $37.28
Remaining Funds:   $30.85

New Loan:  $0.00 (Jan 3)
Loan Payment Due Today: $0.00
Loan Payment:   $0.00
Outstanding Loan: $50.00 (originally $50.00 on Jan 3) @ 3% per month (non-compounding) = $50.30  Owing as at Jan 9th . . . re-payment due January 31st (or earlier)

Items Purchased:   $5 Gas, 6 Bananas, 3 Roma Tomatoes, Bag of Chips, Pack of Onion Soup, Sour Cream, 6-Pack Beer, Prescription Meds (amount not covered by insurance)
Free Stuff:   Leftovers from Men’s Breakfast (sausage loaf, mushrooms), Cup of Hot Cider (went for “coffee” with a friend), Invited for Chinese Food Dinner

Gas Purchased* & Remaining:  $5.00 (i.e. 4.51 litres @ $1.109 per litre . . . 45.1 km @ 10 km/litre) + 2.15 litres (gas remaining) = 6.66 litres (66.6 km)
Driving Today:  35.0 km (i.e. 3.50 litres)
Gas Remaining:  3.16 litres (i.e. 31.6 km)
*Will not include any fuel or driving related to work that is paid for by work.

Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.


  1. I yearn with every fibre in my being to hear that noise.

  2. WOW ... You nailed it! Best blog .... ever?
    I am again motivated:
    1. To speak out.
    2. To act out ... I shall meet with our local 'Poverty House' ... for homeless, food, clothing,
    treatment .... at 2:30 today and see where I can be involved.
    Thank you.

  3. Fantastic! Thanks Dan for your caring heart.