- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
It is sometimes said that the measure of a community is how the least of its citizens are treated. We must consider how those who struggle the most are faring.
There are always people in crisis who require help. The Justice and Advocacy Council of St. Mary’s County speaks for them.
We thank the St. Mary’s County commissioners for their willingness to provide funding to those noncounty agencies that provide services to those in need. However, in the light of the continuing struggles of these same people, we ask you to rethink the funding cuts that this proposed FY 13 budget imposes on groups like the Literacy Council, St. Mary’s Caring soup kitchen and the Southern Maryland Center for Family Advocacy.
Some groups are staffed only by volunteers, and while most of them do fundraise, fundraising activity surely takes volunteers and resources away from fulfilling their mission.
The commissioners’ budget message says, “It (the budget) must address the community needs and priorities.” We agree that public safety and education are priorities. The work done by noncounty social agencies is a community need. The appropriation to these social service organizations is not about entitlement, but rather it is about providing an infrastructure that promotes and supports self-reliance, dignity and independence. This, too, must be a community priority.
The total dollars requested by noncounty agencies represents 0.75 percent of the $211 million budget, less than 1 percent. The recommended budget appropriates 0.63 percent of the $211 million.
We respectfully request that you restore funding to the level requested by those organizations serving our disadvantaged citizens.
Barbara Thompson, Hollywood
The writer is chairman of the Justice and Advocacy Council of St. Mary’s County, Archdiocese of Washington. She is also a former president of the St. Mary’s County commissioners.