Convenience, efficiency, practicality—these and similar traits are highly valued in today’s fast-paced society. We like quick results that don’t require a lot of time or money and politicians like boasting when they can deliver them too.

Unfortunately, on the human scale, what’s efficient and practical can also be highly lacking in dignity.

Fortunately, there are people who can see those gaping holes created by oversight or, sadly, an absence of compassion.

Garbage bags may be practical but having foster children store and transport their belongings in them is rather demeaning. Thankfully there are people like Allenton’s Morgan Duff, who at the young age of 13, wants to change that fact for a couple dozen foster kids in St. Clair County. We featured her plans in our January 15 edition,”Making a difference for kids in foster care.” Morgan wants to raise enough money to purchase 48 backpacks and fill them with personal hygiene items and a stuffed animal and provide the bags to the county’s human services department to hand out as needed.

Organizations that minister to individuals and families with food security needs are speaking out against plans at the federal level to make fewer people eligible for crucial programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). As a result, fewer children would automatically qualify to receive free or reduced price school lunches. To be precise, the United Way of Southeastern Michigan estimates that rules changes could affect an estimated 58,743 Michigan children.

At first glance, it might appear that the government would realize a more efficient budget with fewer food stamps to cover, but studies have consistently shown that those “savings” are null and void because people without proper nutrition put a strain on already taxed housing and healthcare systems. When it comes to school lunches, districts could expect to see their students’ debts rise and their self-respect plummet. It doesn’t seem very practical to stop helping people take care of themselves.

We started this week by honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Lutheran King Jr. who urged Americans to always consider their moral obligation to speak out against or stand up to practices that are unfair or unjust—essentially the things that rob people of their dignity.

We’re grateful for people like Morgan who see an injustice and want to make it right. Let’s take inspiration from her and all the other community advocates in our midst and do our part to help our neighbors know dignity.