WOW!!!! What a crazy past few months we just had. Starting with the end of October there was Halloween and then along came November.  With Thanksgiving being one of the big-feast holidays, families and friends communed, enjoying turkey and all the trimmings.  The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, brought about shoppers frantic to get the early morning deal


WOW!!!! What a crazy past few months we just had. Starting with the end of October there was Halloween and then along came November.  With Thanksgiving being one of the big-feast holidays, families and friends communed, enjoying turkey and all the trimmings.  The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, brought about shoppers frantic to get the early morning deals.  December continued the frenzy with four weeks of preparation for another big holiday, Christmas.  Then six days later we celebrated the coming of a New Year in hopes that this year will be good to us. For about two months straight we eat well, shop for family and ourselves, and for the most part enjoy the holidays to the point of exhaustion.  

Over the past two months did you pause to think about those who are less fortunate than you?  Did you think about those who were hungry and had little food while you were full?  Did you think about those who were homeless and cold while you were at home and warm?

It is a sad state of affair that we have people in our own community who had to do without this last holiday season.  It is even worse when some of these people do not have a home.  Our own community does not yet have a shelter for displaced persons to keep warm this winter.

Did you know: according to the Kansas Department of Labor, the Butler County unemployment rate is 7.0 percent which is approximately 2,249 people without a job? That statistic is not taking into account the homeless in our county that cannot get a job due to not having a residing address.

Did you know: the city of Newton, which is a neighboring community similar in size to El Dorado, does have a homeless shelter?  They have about 25 beds and have been full over the past year.  So why doesn’t our own community have a place for our local citizens without a home?  Does our community view them as second-class citizens and unworthy of living here? With today’s economy and unemployment rates, it is easy to find yourself on the brink of nowhere to turn. What about the news of Boeing leaving Wichita? How will that affect our family and friends living in El Dorado who have jobs there? If your circumstances were to change, have you thought about what you would do or where you would go?

Did you know: El Dorado is a community of caring. While our community does not have a traditional soup kitchen for those who are hungry, some of El Dorado’s churches have been providing meals each week.  They have done a fantastic job of coming together as a community and caring for those in need. And perhaps you were one of the many volunteers who helped serve at one of the community meals or braved the cold winds to ring a Salvation Army bell, or maybe you turned your heart toward your neighbor and offered a kind word during a rough time.

In 2012 I challenge you to think outside your comfort zone and consider our local neighbors who have nowhere to go. Currently, the Butler Homeless Initiative is working hard to procure a location where the displaced individuals and families of our community can have an address to help get back on their feet.  Together, as a community, let’s make 2012 the year that our city’s motto applies to all its citizens: The Fine Art of Living Well.

– Joseph R. Menaduel, Butler Homeless Initiative