I was watching a video on the Dust Bowl days of the 1930’s that affected the lives of thousands of farmers in Oklahoma, Kansas, Eastern Colorado and other plain states, including my grandparents and my mom and dad.

I think the thing that I most noticed in the video was how people banded together, worked together, shared what meager means they had so that they all could survive. There was no government welfare program. Homeless shelters and soup kitchens were run by local churches and benevolent groups. People helping people. You didn’t have to fill out multiple forms and prove your need to some government bureaucracy to get assistance. Your neighbors saw your need and responded.

My belief is that a lot (certainly not all) of our problems could be addressed locally, by community members and organizations much more efficiently and at a lower cost than what any government entity can do it for.

Many, if not most, of you know that over a decade ago my wife Debbie and I started a non-profit called Kids Aid Backpack Program. The mission was to help in the fight against childhood hunger, particularly the problem of children going hungry over the week-ends. We purposely made the program easy. No need to prove. No qualifying income levels. If the child or parent told us the child needed a bag of food for the week-end, they got one. Simple. We started in our neighborhood elementary school. We were neighbors taking care of neighbors who were short of food. As more and more people heard of the solution, they wanted to be involved and volunteered their time and money, and we were able to expand into more and more schools. Now around 2,000 bags of food are put into kids’ hands each Friday. The program is mostly funded by donations from individuals, local businesses and organizations. The program runs on around $300,000 a year. If a government entity ran this program the labor cost alone would be $300,000! Neighbors helping neighbors at the point of need.

Debbie and I have stepped away from leadership positions in Kids Aid and it is now run by a group of exceptional people who have a heart for kids and who also believe that some local problems can be solved locally.

In this season of giving, my prayer is for neighbors to step up and help neighbors. That when we see a need, we try to fill it. That we show compassion and as we have been blessed, we bless others! Not just now but throughout all the year.

You can learn more about the Kids Aid Backpack Program at www.kidsaidcolorado.org.

These are the opinions of Mike Berry and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.

Mike Berry is a Registered Representative offering securities through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Legacy Wealth Management, LLC and Cambridge are not affiliated. Cambridge does not offer tax advice.  

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