There is immense power when a group of people with similar concerns and interests get together to strive for the same objective.
The poor in our society are made to feel unworthy enough to think that what they are paid is what they are worth. That is how workplace authoritarianism goes.
But it is amazing, and at times heartbreaking, to see the pride people take in jobs that compensate them so meagerly, in wages, recognition, and dignity.
So it is heartening to know that Arkansas has passed an ordinance to pay $9.25 an hour to homeless people to collect trash around Little Rock, the state capital. The program has been named Bridge to Work and the wages are worth a whole two bucks above the stipulated minimum wage. The participants can work up to four hours each day, 3 days every week. Two supervisors have been hired to help pick them up and drop them to and from the sites where they have been assigned.
Enthused with the success of the program in the capital, Little Rock, the mayor of the city, Frank Scott Jr. plans to extend the program by another year reports 12 News Now. The program has received widespread community support.
Associate pastor of Canvas Community Church, Paul Atkins says that everyone associated with the program is “super excited” about the whole project and hopes to extend it into an ongoing project. The church runs the program.
What began as a pilot project for an initial period of 6 months has now been extended till September 2020 says the site.
Atkins says that initially 380 people were part of the work crew and quite a few joined more than once. 130 sites were cleaned for a total of 1,821 hours of work since the start of the program. 2,056 bags of trash were collected according to the site. In a significant development, Arkansas has increased the state minimum wage. From 2019 it’s $9.25 an hour.
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Every member of the community should commit to serve the needs of the least privileged and give a voice to those who lack it. The direction of a whole nation can be altered by the collective will of its citizens. Felicia Cooks is a team leader in the program. She was a bit skeptical about the success of the program but is overwhelmed by the way things have turned out. She says that it is the most exciting thing that she has ever done and the positive energy and the vision of the Canvas Community Church has inspired her.
If the work being done by the community and the Canvas Community Church for the Bridge to Work program enthuse you, you can volunteer here
IMAGE CREDIT: Katarzyna BiaÅ‚asiewicz