Feeding Those Less Fortunate As A Mindset

Being Charitable Shouldn’t Be Reserved Just for the Holidays

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I love feeding people, it’s what I do. Yes, I do it for a living, but I also do it for the sheer joy in it. Nothing fills me with more joy than to hand someone a delicious piece of food and watch the look of elation as they pop it into their mouth. We, of course, have to eat. Food is the fuel we need to run the machine that is our body. A healthy, wholesome meal not only fills our stomachs, but it can also feed our souls. Sharing a meal with someone can be a spiritual experience and can bond together even the most cantankerous of people.

Food is the fuel we need to run the machine that is our body.

For most of us, it is easy to take for granted the food we eat. Right now, as you read this, you could probably open the fridge and pull out something to munch on. A crunchy, unctuous grilled cheese sandwich and a hot, steamy bowl of soup are most likely just a few minutes to reality.

Image courtesy of Leroy_Skalstad

Sadly, 1 in 6 people in America face hunger. 49 million Americans struggle to put food on the table each day and those numbers are staggering. There are the working poor that have jobs but barely afford to feed themselves or their families. There are the homeless that not only struggle to eat, but to find shelter and warm cloths. In January 2017, one of the most recent national estimates in the United States identified 553,742 people experiencing homelessness. Of course, let us not forget the food insecurity among us. Food insecurity, basically, is the lack of access, at times, to enough food for all household members.

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Yes, these statistics are sad and heartbreaking. As I type this, my steaming cup of coffee and my warm writing office reminds me how fortunate I really am. It also gives pause to remember those that are NOT as fortunate as I am. So many people are not able to eat regularly or sleep in a warm, safe place at night, and that is something to reflect on. What can you do, you ask? Look hard enough, there are dozens of ways to help if you are willing.

Yes, most people step up and head to the soup kitchen during the holidays to dole out piles of donated turkey and stuffing, but it doesn’t have to end there. People that suffer from social insecure lives need help all year. I would encourage anyone that has the heart to help during the two major feeding holidays to look into offering assistance on a regular basis. It would just take a couple clicks on a Google search to find places that need hands near you. Food banks, soup kitchens, drop-in centers, and the like rely heavily on volunteers. We help out a lot where we can and notice that there seems to be a shortage of hands on a regular basis. The early parts of the year, especially here in New England, see shortages of helpers in the harshest parts of winter. January and February can be pretty brutal around here.

Image courtesy of Leroy_Skalstad

This short piece is a call-to-arms to get out there and see where you can be of service to your less-fortunate neighbors. It’s a great bonding experience to do as a family activity. It shows our kids a great example of a charitable heart. This sort of behavior starts at home. We like to serve at least 4 days a month and there is never a shortage of places to go. The local homeless shelter offers three meals a day, that’s 21 meals a week or about 84 meals a month that could use help scooping potatoes or handing someone a piece of cake. Feeding people can change someone’s life and give them hope that humanity is good. Of course, most churches offer food pantries that offer weekly assistance to people in need. There are always places that take clothing donations or furniture. People that can’t afford a hot meal also need other things on occasion.

Feeding people can change someone’s life and give them hope that humanity is good.

Yes, feeding and clothing the needy is important. It changes lives. Let us go out and do what we can, but remember that these people are people just like us. We should serve from a place of love and not from a stoop of arrogance. People that need something don’t want to feel like we are “doing them a favor” but that we love them as brothers and sisters.

Happy holidays everyone!