Remarks during the public hearing on non-profits last night at the Watauga County Commission meeting, by Christy Welch, a school counselor at Mabel School:
|Part of the overflow crowd at the County Commission last night|
In the interest of transparency I am the proud wife of the man in the pink tie.
I come to you tonight with a heavy heart. I am dismayed that the attack on Watauga's hardworking citizens continues. I was hopeful that with the extra revenue coming from the tax redistribution non profits would see some relief. That obviously is not the case.
It is unbelievable that many of you sitting up there are voting on non profits for which you have no idea what they do. My family has served at the Hospitality House and seen the children's faces as they go through the line. We've delivered bag lunches to the hunger coalition because their food pantry was empty. My husband and I have attended meetings for WYN, Mtn alliance pancake breakfasts and attended the Children's Playhouse luncheon where I am proud to say they were honoring our daughter for her Hearts for the Homeless event she organized at our church. These organizations do great things.
I've taken the phone call from the mom crying because she and her children had no heat and had to sleep under blankets in one room huddled up together. I sent them to WeCAN, but because of limited funding they were only doing electric, not fuel. So I made the phone call to my spouse saying I know we don't have it, but I can't let them freeze, and took a deep breath when he says we'll figure it out do what you have to. We can't let those children freeze. This is just one story of many.
You may say the churches and people need to step up. Well they are. At my school between individuals, churches, and civic groups over $6,500 in assistance has been give out. This does not include assistance for field trips. This is not sustainable.
Some may question my family's giving. John and I make less than $80,000,and we would love to just give and give, but unfortunately that is not always possible. However, this year we paid for $1,000 worth of fuel for my families at Mabel. While we don't typically share this information, I think it's important to note that we, who make less than $80,000 only gave $1,500 less to WeCAN than a county getting ready to come into $500,000. Food, shelter, heat are not luxuries or something to be put on a wish list. They are basic needs.
My family tries to live by Proverbs 31: 8-9: "Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down and outers, speak out for justice. Stand up for the poor and destitute." I encourage you to take Proverbs 29: 14 into consideration: "Leadership gains authority and respect when the voiceless poor are treated fairly."
So, are you going to follow in the steps of our Lord and take care of your people or are you going to do the opposite and leave them out in the literal cold.