Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Time to Prepare

Living on the coast, you learn about the seasons - not just spring summer winter and fall, not just football and basketball and baseball (soccer is eternal.) No you learn about Hurricane Season. You learn that beginning the middle of August it is a good thing to turn to the Weather Channel at least once a week at ten minutes before the hour to check out Tropical Storm Update! Just in case!

Even though it has been a relatively slow season, things have started to heat up in the tropics with Ana, Bill and Claudette forming in just a few hours. With each storm, we are told that now is the time to prepare—just in case. Get water and food for at least a few days; make an evacuation plan, get the materials together to protect your home. Bill is now a major hurricane, but models show it curving out to sea, not hitting the SC coast, but still we are told, now is the time to prepare.

But what about the storms that we know are going to hit...
In 2006 there were 8175 babies born to teenagers. They are now 3 years old. That means that in 3 years they will begin first grade. That is 327 first grade classes. Statistics tell us that most of those children will be living in homes below the poverty line—putting them at risk. This is the side of preventing teen pregnancies that often gets overlooked. We forget that these infants grow up to be first graders. What are we doing to prepare?

Unfortunately, as a state we tend to be going in the opposite direction. Rather than preparing for the coming storm, we are making cuts that increase the coming intensity. A recent article in the Charleston Post and Courier reported that due to the ongoing budget crisis:

The Department of Health and Environmental Control has shrunk dramatically in the last decade, shedding just under 1,500 workers. Its funding has been cut by $35 million in the past year.

Among the programs affected:
  • The Postpartum Newborn Home Visit Program is now limited to the most high-risk infants on a referral-only basis.
  • The Family Planning program's budget for contraceptive services has dropped by 21 percent and fewer clinics are offering the service.
  • Several county health clinics have been closed and hours reduced at other places.
What does this say about our preparation for the future? What does this say about how we hope to deal with what we know will be coming our way? What does this say about what we think is important?

Everyday the National Weather Service informs us of storms that might be coming our way. They urge us to be prepared. Part of the role of the SC Campaign is to let us know of the storm that is coming our way. Our job is to be prepared?

How are we doing?

By: Rev. Don Flowers, Immediate Past Board Chair and Pastor of Providence Baptist Church
Contact Don:

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