Thursday, October 13, 2005

10/13/2005: Oprah and Pembroke

I have heard from many people regarding Pembroke regarding Oprah's show that aired yesterday and highlighted Pembroke, IL. While I did not watch this segment on Oprah yesterday, I must speak to what was certainly aired.

Pembroke has become the poster child for poor communities in the past four years. I can assure everyone that this community has plenty of help, regardless of the ridiculous comment that one caller shared with me that, since Pembroke does not have a zip code, they cannot get government assistance. My hometown does not have a zip code and we still receive plenty of government assistance as needed.

In fact, Focus America no longer supports Pembroke simply because so many people are helping them. Frankly, and only based upon my personal opinion, I'm not a big fan of Rev. Dyson. This happened after my volunteers sent school uniforms, food, and hundreds of Christmas gifts for the children and, according to what I was told, Dyson distributed the items under the auspice of "Look what I collected for you." Granted, this came to me second-hand so I cannot guarantee the accuracy of that statement but the very fact that this MIGHT have occurred did not make my volunteers feel good about the hours spent collecting gifts and money spent in shipping the items to Pembroke, IL.

About 12-18 months ago, someone who told me that they were from the Governor's office contacted me and discussed how the Governor's office was putting together a task force to focus on developing Pembroke: pave the roads, install water, etc.

So, anyone who wants to help a poor community, I encourage you to consider another community that does not have a PR machine with a questionable agenda. We have communities that live in conditions just as bad as Pembroke was...possibly worse.

Unlike the children from Pembroke who, when asked what they needed/wanted for Christmas, said GameCubes, Nintendo, and CD Walkmans, the children from our Virgie community ask for food and coats while their parents ask for jobs to earn money to support their families. This one community wants work. I find that most admirable. We are arranging a program to provide mail order commerce to help these people earn money. We are trying to organize a Christmas drive as well as collecting gently used coats for Thanksgiving.

I could use a great deal of help or arrange for you to adopt one of these families. In my opinion, they could use it much more than the people of Pembroke...