Billie Silvey
The Great Depression
June 2008
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Joy in Hard Times
HARD TIMES
Surviving the 30s
It seems like a fact of life: when times get hard, people’s needs
increase;  however, it seems that the resources to meet those needs
decrease at the same time.  It’s happening right now in
Myanmar.  Those who survived the cyclone are being threatened
with starvation, exposure and disease.  And those who are willing to
help are finding it difficult to do so.

It’s also happening in China.  Despite the greater openness,
organization and involvement of the Chinese government, the
incredible scope of the need almost guarantees that people who
might have been saved will be overlooked.

It's not so dramatic in this country, but the growing population of the
tent city at Ontario Airport in California--a tent city that began last
July and continued into this March before first people from other
cities, then everyone, was kicked out--showed us how great the
need is.
There have always been threatened people, and often the people
who try to help them find themselves blocked and frustrated.  For
the past 10 years, I’ve been among those people.

In the mid-90s, I helped begin the Culver Palms Life Skills Lab, a
nonprofit aimed at training single parents to get jobs.  Started in
response to cuts in the welfare system in the early 1990s, it ran
out of funding and closed in the energy crisis of 2003.

Then I was hired by Westchester Healthy Start, a nonprofit that
serves underserved students and their families on the campus of
Westchester High School.  Now economic difficulties are
threatening it at the same time that both government and
individuals tighten their grip on their pocketbooks and cut back on
aid.

Our nation, and most of us as individuals, have known hard
times.  Perhaps the worst in this country was the Great
Depression of the 1930s. But the nation and its people made it
through together.  With clouds of need building today, we might
do well to look back to those stormy days to see how people
survived.

This issue of the website aims to do just that.  It includes articles
on the
Great Depression, surviving hard times, and how we can
find
joy in hard times.  Let’s look together at the 1930s to
see if we can find direction for today.

If any of you have stories to share of hard times, we welcome you
to do so.  If you have suggestions for coping, we welcome those
as well.  Just write me at
b.silvey@sbcglobal.net.

Let’s not ignore hard times, nor let them make us selfish, but
let’s seek creative ways to help people whose lives are hit the
hardest.