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Evansville, Indiana
January 13, 1995     The Message
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January 13, 1995

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: 4 . The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana -- Taking the time to make a difference-- " Good Samaritan stories raise questions- Even the radio talk show host was surprised. She was taking calls from people who had experi- z ence being a "Good Samaritan." Some of the experiences were good. Some were not. One of the callers told about stopping to help a stranded mo- torist, and the fear that she had about stopping to help a stranger. Normally, she said, she would not have stopped, but the stranded mo- torist was a woman with a car full of children. It was not a threaten- ing situation. Another caller said he had seen a stranded motorist, a woman alone on a dark street, but he was afraid to stop. So he pulled over a few blocks later, and watched the woman from a distance -- until the stranded motorist was able to ' restart her car. The concept of being a "Good Samaritan" was ex- panded by the talk show host to include a wide range of being helpful to others. She told about the time she and her boyfriend once had given a pan- handler all of the spare change they had -- 30 cents. She was embarrassed at what happened next: the panhandler" shouted to her and her boyfriend, and to everybody within listening dis- tance, that he could buy absolutely nothing with 30 cents. By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR The next caller told the story that made the talk show host gasp in surprise. The caller said she and her young son had seen a man begging for money at a busy shopping area. The man looked down and out, and he was telling the people passing by that he needed money for food. The caller wanted her son to know that people who receive money in such circumstances don't always use the money for the best purposes. But she also wanted to teach her son to be aware of the needs of other people, and to be willing to do some- thing about those needs. She continued her story, describing how she and her son decided to help the man. They went to a fast food store, and her son picked out a sandwich -- not for himself, but to give to the hungry man. They approached the beggar and offered him the sandwich. He took it from the boy, and started cursing. He threw the sandwich down, and yelled at the boy and his mother that he wanted to buy his own food. Then he stomped on the sandwich and stormed away. That's when the talk show host gasped and shuddered. The little boy was traumatized. His gift -- the one he personally selected -- was rejected. How do you react to that story? Talk about it with the people in find out what they think. Was the beggar trying to preserve a nity? Or should he have been people gave him? : Should the little boy and his mother have him money? How important is it to you, to want to eat? Hunger is a real need throughout the cide today to do something about it, to ference: Contact a social services profe munity. Tell the talk show story to deals daily with people who are down and hungry. Listen to the reaction. Find out and your family can help. Get involved in the social outreach your church. Get in touch with organizations hunger needs, such as Bread for the the Poor, or Catholic Relief Se"vices. And every time you get hungry for food, think about the beggar who sandwich. Pray fbr him. And pray and his mother. Questions and comments are welcome Christian Family Movement, P.O. Iowa 50010. ------ Washington Letter Facing up to budget assaults: Charities brace for a fight WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The specter of Congress enact- ing the program cuts of the Re- publicans? Personal Responsi- bility Act is prompting even the quietly nonpolitical St. Vincent de Paul Society to turn activist on behalf of its clients and programs. "In our 150-year history this is the severest cut in the wel- fare plan that anyone can re- member," said Rita W. Porter, executive secretary/director of the St. Louis-based national of- fice of the society. St. Vincent de Paul, which operates a variety of charitable services through diocesan and parish programs, has plenty of company in worrying about what the 104th Congress may bring. Part of the Contract with America touted by Republicans in the 1994 election, the Per- sonal Responsibility Act was introduced in the first days of the 1995 session. It wourd cut $30 billion over five years for programs including school The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 477200169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last Week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville r .............. Bishop Gerald A: Gettefinger Etor ............................................ Paul Leingang Production Manager ........................... Phil Boger Crcu!atn ................................. .Amy Housrnan /e;,ing ................................ Pal Newiand Staffi w,ter. ........................ Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 (812) 424-5536 Fax: (812) 421-1334 Subscription rate: $1500 per year Singte Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nO c',ass matter at the post office n Evanswtte, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of PubticatK)n " 1996  Press of Evansv I I II I B III lunches and breakfasts, food stamps and nutrition assis- tance for women, infants and children. Another $30 billion would be cut in Aid to Families with Dependent Children and other nonfood programs. All types of charitable orga- nizations are trying to figure out how to plan for those cuts. Also of concern are proposals to eliminate tax breaks for charitable contributions; to limit the length of time people may receive government aid; and to eliminate assistance to some groups, such as legal im- migrants who receive Supple- mental Security Income or childhood immunizations. At a Washington press con- ference Jan. 5, spokesmen for nonprofit organizations said they are crunching numbers and rallying supporters for an intense lobbying effort to pro- tect their clients and operating funds. Aside from direct losses from reduced federal grants that many charities expect, James Joseph, president of the Coun- cil on Foundations, is worried that tax code revisions will af- fect what people contribute to foundations. "People decide to give for al- truistic motives, but once they decide, financial advisers play a strong role in how much and to whom it is given," Joseph said. Losing a tax break for charitable giving could mean the best of motives brings little money to the needy, he said. Major tax cuts during the Reagan administration failed to boost charitable giving, said Virginia Hodgkinson, vice president and researcher for Independent Sector, a coalition of more than 800 nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Partly because charities saw nothing close to a replacement of lost federal revenue from new, private donations during the 1980s, those organizations are scrambling to make their voices heard before new cuts are made. "When we had the Reagan- era cuts we felt that," said Mrs. Porter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in a phone in- terview. "But this is so drastic we've been stepping back to see how to deal vcith it. "While some goals of these proposals are good, we have to take into consideration the means being used." Many of the proposed cuts fail to consider that charities often rely on federal funds for some of their programs. For in- stance, some St. Vincent de Paul councils receive funds from the Department of Agri- culture, the Federal Emer- gency Management Agency or other branches of government to provide meals, training or emergency supplies, said Mrs. Porter. So, although St. Vincent de Paul traditionally operates apolitically through parish- based networks, the national office is gearing up to fight this time. "The society has always been kind of quiet," Mrs. Porter said. "But we see we're going to have to change our ways and be active." State and local council mere- bers are being asked to visit congressional offices, form re- lationships with their repr'e- sentatives and show them how the proposed cuts would affect the work of St. Vincent de Paul. Since soon after the election Catholic Charities USA has been getting calls seeking in- formation about the proposals and how to limit the damage to their own projects. Renewed support for a bal- anced budget amendment and proposals to cut off welfare as- sistance to the children of un- married teens are particularly troubling to Catholic Charities agencies, said Sharon Daly, deputy executive director. "We're trying to help people understand that what sounds like a laudable goal -- a bal- "anced budget will require cuts on a scale they don't un- derstand," she said. "It will mean draconian cuts in pro- grams for very vulnerable peo- ple." Plans to cut off unwed teen mothers from AFDC payments, putting the teens in group homes and the babies in or- phanages are also short- sighted, say Catholic Charities workers who try to help them now. "The answer is for them to have a safe place to care for their babies," Ms. Daly said. Catholic Charities supports changing the current system of providing AFDC checks di- % di rectly to teen lieves keeping gether is discussed phanages. What C its kindred nizations are chance to give Despite the o! status as the li of social service Bishop's The following activities and events are schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger. day, Jan. 21. Catholic Foundation ana, Inc., board meeting, Jan. 25, 3 p.m. CST Council of Priests, Catholic Ce Jan. 26, 1:30 p,m. CST, St. Philip Neri, Jan. 29, 9 a,m. EST, the largest provider, there' tact from who insist take on more dens now shoulc government. Local being out to th tives. "We are the could do this said. "Would yot what we have to