As some of us are back in the office this week for another holiday-shortened week, it’s a peaceful day in Bloomington. IU students are out of town. Many of our co-workers and friends are still on vacation.
And it’s a cold day with a layer of snow on the ground. In contrast to the hoards of pre-Christmas shoppers, there aren’t many people on the roads today. It just doesn’t seem like much is happening in B-town.
But in our lobby at SCCAP, it’s a different story. We’ve had quite a crowd of people here seeking various types of assistance since early this morning. There was a story in the Herald-Times this morning about local agency leaders expecting to see greater needs for help in 2010.
It feels that way here today. While many people across the country are hoping for an economic recovery that will allow them to go back to leading their secure middle-class lives, what we see at SCCAP are people who likely were already struggling and have seen their lives become only more difficult with the recession. Job opportunities are scarce and the cost of living in Bloomington is still expensive. We see people every day having to make hard choices between such necessities as paying their rent and utilities, feeding themselves and buying medicine they need. We’re also seeing some formerly self-sufficient people who’ve never had to seek assistance from SCCAP before. And it doesn’t look like it’s getting any better at this point.
At SCCAP, we’re fortunate to be here to help those in need, and particularly to try to help them get back on a path where they can support themselves financially. We’re appreciative that the Obama Administration has provided us with more resources to do this job. But we still wish our lobby wasn’t so full and that there weren’t so many people struggling just to get by. They don’t get a holiday from worrying about being without power, without food or medicine, or without a place to live. There is no peace in their lives.