Letter: 'Be the change' for struggling neighbors


To the editor:

One of my heroes once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." This quote from Mahatma Gandhi is often overused and regarded as clich , but I think the reason it resonates with us is because it conveys an eternal truth with just ten simple words. All of our faith traditions and moral principles challenge us to look beyond ourselves and recognize our basic human obligation to be of service to others. It is the key to a purposeful life and our ultimate hope for a better and more just world.

We have long recognized that government and other institutions often cannot effect the changes we need to fully realize social and economic equity among our neighbors. How can we turn away from the elderly woman in line at the grocery store who is struggling with her wallet because she does not have enough to pay for the meager groceries on the belt; the homeless young mother sleeping with her young children in her dilapidated car; or the 50-something-year-old man in line at the unemployment office, desperately looking for work to support his family. These are our neighbors. Their suffering is our suffering.

Every day, dozens of these neighbors enter through our doors. Struggling with economic insecurity, not knowing where their next meal will come from, facing eviction or homelessness, struggling to heat their homes, desperately trying to find work that pays a living wage — their struggles seem endless. How can we ever begin to address all of these problems ? How do we help our struggling neighbors fully realize the peace and security of financial stability?

This question has been asked by some of the best and brightest among us. John F. Kennedy posed the question to us this way: "If not us, who .if not now, when? I boldly suggest it is Us and it is Now. We all have a vested interest in seeing our neighbors and community prosper.

So our call to action is volunteer, get involved, donate your talent! We need you to help us "be the change." Embrace the universal responsibility of service, so that we all may enjoy the fruits of a more peaceful, secure and thriving community.

Deborah Leonczyk,


The writer is executive director of the Berkshire Community Action Council.



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