Motivation for the Marketplace
Motivation for the Marketplace
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We consider the entire project an example of a classic “Win-Win-Win” situation.
The Magic of Opportunity

    Contrary to popular opinion, people who live in poverty want to work. I observe or overhear this basic human desire almost every day where I work. Poor people exhibit traits associated with laziness no more frequently than do rich or middle-class people. Laziness spreads itself out across our nation’s socio-economic continuum at about the same depth from one end to the other. Often the only thing separating rich and poor in this country is opportunity and the related factors and forces of environment. I realize this point of view will be difficult for some to accept. Possibly a recent example from my experience in inner city Dallas will help illustrate my point.

    Several weeks ago Rae England, founder and leader of Love in Action, a non-profit group dedicated to assisting people from war-torn Bosnia and its environs, contacted me to share an opportunity. Rae had worked out an agreement with a local grocery reclamation center to receive slightly damaged groceries free of charge. All she needed was a truck to transport the goods to a warehouse she had talked someone else out of (!), and a salvage license to legally process the food. Since she knew we possessed both a truck and the necessary license, Rae thought we might want to partner with Love in Action to take advantage of the mutual benefits of the arrangement. In exchange for picking up the food and sorting and boxing it, our food center would be able to keep half of each load. The other half would be delivered to the warehouse for shipment to Bosnia. Since one of the major expenses in the operation of a hunger relief center involves the purchase of food products, we eagerly agreed to give it a try. The experience has been amazing.

    Over ninety per cent of our volunteers would be considered “poor” by community standards. Actually , I hate the word “poor” when attached to any person. Our volunteers are my friends. I know and respect these people. It is impossible for me to regard any of them as poor. They are much too valuable for such a limited and limiting adjective. But, back to my example.

    Our volunteers pick up the food, deliver it to our center, sort and cull it, box it and place half in our storage areas and half in the area reserved for Bosnian relief. With some of the funds, we save from what has been a burdensome monthly grocery bill, we are able to pay our crew of food handlers $6.00 per hour. This special opportunity allows us to provide a day of work each week to between fifteen and twenty-five unemployed men and women.

    Watching this special group of friends work amazes me. Black, white and brown, this group works together until the job is completed. The work is hard and tedious. But, joy always breaks as the people work together. Most weeks the truck brings so many boxes of food that we are able to share our half with a small outreach project serving elderly persons who live in West Dallas. Our “employees” enjoy the work. Their understanding of the destination of the food motivates them to keep working. The pay doesn’t hurt either!

    We consider the entire project an example of a classic “Win-Win-Win” situation. Everyone benefits. Everyone works. Everyone is thankful for the opportunity. After all, opportunity is the key to fulfillment and success for all of us, including the urban “poor.” What’s needed most in inner city Dallas is more opportunity.


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