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WSSN Stories

“HELP SUPPORT – Brother’s Keeper Mission Project!”

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By Lou Coleman

As much as we may resist the idea that we are our brother’s keeper, in God’s eyes we are more than we aren’t. Am I my brother’s keeper questions our degree of responsibility for anyone other than ourselves.  As we read through the pages of Scripture we begin to discover that there is a responsibility that we are entrusted with. Jesus used examples that said if we clothed anyone who was naked, visited anyone in prison, even just give a cup of cool water in His name then it would be as if we had done it directly to Him. When it comes to God’s perspective on your life, you are your brother’s keeper. Acts 11: 12-30.

 

However, many of us Christians believe that as one person we can’t make a difference. I want you to know that that’s not true! Let me ask you, did Christ? Yes! One person can make a difference. We are told to “bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” In Galatians 6:2, we are commanded to bear the burdens of our brother. The whole idea here is one of self-denial and self-sacrifice. When Jesus went to the cross, He laid aside His rights for us. He denied Himself, suffered in our place and bore our infirmities on the cross. He set the standard that we are all called upon to follow. This verse is a call for us to get our eyes off ourselves and to get them onto those around us so that we can reach out to them in the love of God and make a difference in their lives!

 

After seeing firsthand what poverty looks like, I am now more dedicated than ever to be a part of their lives. “I have come to the realization that in the grand scheme of things, it’s not about me! How can we complain when others are in much worst conditions than we find ourselves in? We can no longer walk past those in need, because we are called to make a difference. To be effective servants for God, we must put things into perspective and be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of another. We must have a burning desire to help others to the fullest extent of our being. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. But what good is salt that no longer seasons, preserves, or purifies? What good is light that no longer emanates, illuminates, and reveals? God does not extend his generosity to us with the intent that we would hoard blessings for our sole benefit. As we are conduits and not repositories for God’s blessings, we must be determined to direct God’s blessings bestowed on us to others. Let us no longer be perceived as Christians by name only. We must not compromise God’s Word. We must strive to be men and women of integrity. And we must allow real, demonstrative truths to emit from our lives, being mindful that God is making His appeal to the world through us.

 

USA for Africa, “We Are the World,” written by Lionel Richie and the great late Michael Jackson says, “There comes a time when we must heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one, there are people dying, and it’s time to lend a hand to life, the greatest gift of all. We can’t go on pretending day by day, that someone, will soon make a change, we are all a part of God’s great big family, and the truth, you know, love is all we need.”

Perhaps one of the more thought-provoking questions in the Bible is that one asked by Cain: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9) This is a question we would do well to ask ourselves today…. Are we our brother’s keeper? Do we have a responsibility to watch out for and care for one another? {When one turns to the New Testament, it becomes clear that the answer is in the affirmative}. In fact, there are many passages which emphasize…Our responsibilities to one another. We are to “Love One Another” As commanded by Jesus –As taught by Paul – As instructed by Peter – and as stressed by John. But how are we to express such love? We are to “receive one another”; we are to “edify another”; we are to “serve one another”; we are to “bear one another’s burdens”; we are to be “forgiving one another”; we are to be “submitting to one another”; we are to “exhort one another”; we are to “consider one another”; we are to be “hospitable to one another.” {In light of such “one another” passages, is there any doubt that we are to be our brother’s keeper?} But how well are we doing? Do we even consider them? Are we even aware of whom they are? Are we ignorant of their problems? Are we willing to bear their burdens? So as to help them overcome and become stronger; or do we rather not be bothered?

What is involved in being our Brother’s Keeper? Teaching him the gospel (Mark 16:15, 16) Loving him as we love self (Matt 22:39; 1 John 3:17) Restoring him when he falls. (Gal 6:1; James 5:19-20) Sharing his burdens and joys, (Gal. 6:2; Romans 12:15) Doing good to him. (gal. 6:10) Helping him when he is in need (Ephesians 4:28) Treating him the way we want to be treated. (Matthew 7:12). Does one person make a difference? Yes! You can help by donating any amount to the cause. What may seem small to you might just change everything for them.

To donate visit www.gofundme.com/99b30w.

 

Keep School Lunches Healthy

school_lunch_beef.jpg.662x0_q100_crop-scaleBy Sylvia Mathews Burwell, HHS Secretary

​Co-Authored by: USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Every parent has dreams for their child. We want them to grow up strong and healthy. We tell them to dream big and work hard so that they can be anything they want to be. We want them to take the world by storm.

As parents, we lay the foundation for our children’s future success, but we know that we can’t do it alone. We rely on people like pediatricians, other health care providers, teachers and other school professionals to act as our proxies. We entrust them with the task of helping our kids grow up smart, strong and healthy because, as parents, we believe that they will make decisions in our children’s best interests. And that applies to what our children eat when they are away from home, especially at school.

The updated school meals standards introduced across the country in 2012 are undoubtedly improving the quality of school meals as well as the health and well-being of our children.

A handful of vocal critics will tell you otherwise — that school meals were better in the “old days.” But the old days are no longer acceptable, not when our children are battling an obesity epidemic that impacts the long-term health of the American people and, according to retired U.S. generals, threatens our national security by making almost one in three young adults unfit to serve in our nation’s military.

America has the second highest obesity rate in the world. The cost of treating obesity-related illnesses is a shocking $190.2 billion per year, dragging down our economy and increasing budget deficits. Updating the school meals with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods — and less fat, sugar and sodium — is the right thing to do for our kids. Doctors and other health care providers agree, which is why the healthier school meals were developed based on their recommendations.

The bottom line is that these meal standards were developed by our nation’s best doctors, nurses, dieticians and scientists — not our politicians. These medical and nutrition professionals know better than anyone that healthy options mean healthy kids, and later, healthy adults.

Some predicted that kids would reject healthy food and throw more food away, but a recent Harvard study showed that, thanks to the updated standards, kids are now eating 16% more vegetables and 23% more fruit at lunch. Another study, published earlier this month by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, reiterated that point, showing that kids are eating more of the healthy food and throwing less food away.

On school meals, parents and kids see eye to eye. A September 2014 survey by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that most parents (72%) support strong national nutrition standards for school meals. Another study, published last July in Childhood Obesityfound that 70% of middle school students and 63% of high school students like the school meals. As these studies show, the new school meals are a success.

Doctors and public health professionals know that healthier people are also better for our economy. Healthy people go to the doctor less and have fewer medical expenses, miss fewer days of school and work, and are more successful in the long run.

Over 90% of schools are meeting the updated guidelines, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is continuing to provide hundreds of millions of dollars, training and other support to help all schools successfully serve healthy food to our children. As Congress is turning its attention toward the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act and some are seeking to modify or even roll back the healthier nutrition standards in schools, it’s worth remembering that these nutrition standards were passed through a bipartisan act of Congress and based on the expert opinions of health scientists and physicians. Any changes to these programs should be based on the science and recommendations of medical experts.

Anything less is just unacceptable.

 

Survey seeks opportunities for growth between insurance companies and diverse businesses

By McKenzie Jackson/California Black Media

California’s African-American-owned businesses are among a group of corporations that the California Department of Insurance (CID) would like to see have a bigger stake in the Golden State’s $257 billion insurance industry.

During the Diversity Task Force meeting held Monday CID Commissioner Dave Jones said his office is focused on finding ways to increase diversity in procurement and governing boards within the insurance industry.

“I am talking in particular about women-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses, and [disabled] veteran-owned businesses “who typically want a chance to have an opportunity to compete,” he said., To know where those opportunities are, and to have an opportunity to build their businesses for their families, for their communities, and for their employees.”

In an effort to do this, next month the CID will be administering the 2015 Insurer Supplier Diversity Survey, which will require the state’s top premium issuing insurance companies to report their procurement efforts with Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), Women Business Enterprises (WBEs), and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (DVBEs). Two years ago, the bi-annual survey found that in 2012, 207 insurance companies awarded 1,300 contracts worth $930 million to businesses owned by members of those subgroups. Sixty-six of those enterprises were headed by African Americans.

Jones, who has been Insurance Commissioner since 2011, said California, which has the largest insurance market in the country, is home to one-fifth of the nation’s minority-owned businesses and 1.1 million women-owned corporations; the highest numbers tops in America. However, he said, more cooperation is needed between those businesses and insurance giants such Allstate, Farmers Insurance, and Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.

“What a tremendous opportunity that would be to bring these two segments of our economy together,” he said.

During the two hour meeting, Jones and Naveen Habib, one of CID coordinator’s for the Insurance Diversity Initiative, went through a draft of the two-part diversity survey. Jones also introduced the 2015-2016 Insurance Diversity Task Force, a 15-member body composed of economic and legal specialists from across the state. The group is charged with making recommendations for bolstering the number of MBEs, WBEs, and DVBEs that partner with an industry that is vital to how businesses in California operate and how families and communities make sure their health and safety needs are addressed.

Jones said all the committee members share the common goal of striving to create greater diversity in the insurance trade.

 

“I am confident the wide array of expertise our new Task Force members bring will benefit our work in meeting these goals,” he said.

 

Task Force members and other businesspersons and insurance reps listened to the meeting by phone and chimed in as Habib went over the survey’s six-point questionnaire and survey chart.

The questionnaire asks insurance companies if they have a supplier diversity policy statement, a supplier diversity program, conduct outreach specifically to diverse businesses, set internal targets or goals in regards to its supplier diversity statement, and the name and contact information for their supplier diversity operations.

 

The chart features tables that divide the total amount of funds companies reveal they spent on WBEs, MBEs, and DVBEs. The chart also features headings that allow companies to pinpoint exactly what type of minority businesses won contract benefits. The headings include “Advertising/Marketing,” “Financial/Investment Services,” “Claims Services,” “Facilities,” “Human Resources,” “Information Technology,” “Office Supplies,” “Print Services,” “Professional Services,” “Telecom” “Real Estate,” “Travel/Entertainment,” and “Other.”

 

“We have been working very hard to make improvements on the survey,” said Habib.

 

Like the 2013 survey, this year’s survey will be sent to insurance companies that wrote premiums of $100 million or more. Two years, ago the survey revealed that out of the $241 million that went towards MBEs, African-American-owned businesses received the third lowest amount. Black businesses finished ahead of Native American-owned businesses and multi-ethnic-owned corporations, but finished below the dollars that went towards businesses categorized as owned by Other/Unknown (63.3 percent), Hispanic (16.6 percent), and Asian Pacific Islander (11.9 percent).

 

Task Force member Janice Brown, the owner and founder of San Diego-based Brown Law Group, said a number of insurance firms are part of the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) and that they spend funds in legal expenses with many minority or women-ran law groups.

 

“I do think there is an opportunity to cross reference the people and the organizations that are a part of NAMWOLF with this initiative,” she said. “If corporations and organizations are spending money on outside counsel with diverse and women-owned companies they are known to have strong diversity initiative programs.”

 

Jones said there is a lot of opportunity for growth due to the huge economic engine the insurance business is in California.

 

“I think we are making good progress,” he said. “That is going to be the job of the new task force to focus on how we grow from this. We have gotten good feedback from insurance companies.”