Think about the lowest point of your life—it could have been the passing of a loved one, a broken relationship or a critical illness. How did the stress you experienced affect your work, relationships and decision-making?
Over time and with the support of loved ones, you eventually got over your crisis. But for those who live in poverty, the stress that they go through is an everyday experience with no end in sight.
The Household Expenditure Survey 2017/181 reported that the monthly household expenditure of households in the lowest 20 per cent income group exceeded their income by an average of $335—the only income group where income was lower than expenditure.
Some of the households in this income group will face a deficit every month, driving them to cut back on expenses and, in turn, compromising their health and well-being. One researcher highlighted that people with lower income already forgo spending on needs that those in higher income groups consider basic, such as tuition, nutritious food, healthcare, and leisure and social activities important for overall well-being.2
This Lent, let’s take the first step to befriend a family trapped in poverty. When we make intentional efforts to understand their circumstances, it shows that we genuinely care about and also respect their needs and challenges.
As a Methodist family, let’s Eat Share Connect to impact lives
2020 marks the 135th anniversary of The Methodist Church in Singapore. To commemorate the milestone, MWS is organising the Eat Share Connect movement, a communal dining outreach to bless the community.
Eat Share Connect aims to reduce the perception of inequality by using food to bring people together. Research has shown that dining together can reduce people’s perceptions of inequality as diners tend to view those of different races, genders and socioeconomic backgrounds as more equal than they would in other social scenarios.3
The Biblical basis of table fellowship
The dining table is a place where people come together to connect, celebrate and bless others. It is also where brokenness is shared and harmony restored.
Table Fellowship was Jesus’ way of connecting with the marginalised. He went against the traditions of His time by eating, sharing and connecting with ordinary folks, the Gentiles, the outcasts and the poor. He unconditionally accepted all, tore down social boundaries and related to them as equals.
“When you give a banquet, invite the poor… you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:13–14 (NIV)
1 Department of Statistics Singapore, “Report on the Household Expenditure Survey 2017/18,” https://www.singstat.gov.sg.
2 “Unable to make ends meet on their own, low-income households find ways to get by,” TODAYOnline, 24 Aug 2019, https://www.todayonline.com/big-read/big-read-unable-make-ends-meet-their-own-low-income-households-find-ways-get
3 Cody C. Delistraty, “The Importance of Eating Together: Family dinners build relationships, and help kids do better in school, Atlantic, 18 July 2014, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/the-importance-of-eating-together/374256/;
Alice Julier, Eating Together: Food, Friendship, and Inequality (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois P, 2014).
By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team
Photo courtesy of Methodist Welfare Services