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Jobs for Life: A ministry that works

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Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

— Maimonides

The poor may always be with us, but that does not mean people in poverty must always be poor.

Nor does it mean that the unemployed must — heaven forbid — always be unemployed.

Kudos to members of First Baptist Church of Salisbury for putting their faith in action by giving 15 jobless people a hand up rather than a handout. Through a program called Jobs for Life, church members provided the mentoring, training and encouragement to give participants the life skills and confidence to successfully enter the job market.

Best of all, they showed participants that someone cared about their struggles. As participant William Dye said, “I’ve never had nobody showing they cared for me.” Working with his mentors, Dye was able to land a job before the program was finished.

Work not only helps people earn money to survive; it also provides dignity, value and purpose in their lives. The volunteers who put their hearts and souls into helping these people become job-ready are ultimately helping the entire community.

Equally amazing is the new Running Works program at Rowan Helping Ministries, which is energizing guests at the overnight shelter by getting them fit through running and coached in life skills. The goal is to land jobs and find housing.

Meeting immediate needs for food, clothing and shelter helps people through crises. That is good charitable activity. But getting them in shape mentally and physically to go to work is countless times better. Then they can fend for themselves and even help others.

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