The annual Family Fest at Bethany Christian Schools in Goshen, Indiana, is usually a joyous event as families auction off handmade quilts, furniture and other goods in the annual school fund-raiser. But this year, double-digit unemployment rates overshadowed the event with a sense of anxiety. The event failed to match last year’s proceeds.
Indiana’s Elkhart County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country—20 percent, which is more than twice the national average. And in this overwhelmingly Christian community with a significant Mennonite population, churches are being called upon more than ever to help meet physical and spiritual needs.
“People . . . know that there but by the grace of God go I,” school principal Allen Dueck told the PBS program Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. “It could be me tomorrow or my family member. So I think there’s a real sense of pulling together in ways we can.”