Hunger Is Not a Disease

Author’s Note – “Ketchup Sandwich Chronicle”


“Ketchup Sandwich Chronicles” is about the spiritual journeys of pantry shoppers and volunteers experiencing hunger and incredible change as they traveled toward renewal and reclaimed lives. This story is, as yet, unknown to many people because hunger as it exists in food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, is still a taboo subject in our country.

Events and conversations in this book took place over a period of several years when I coordinated the Good Neighbor Food Pantry in Woodstock, New York.

Whenever possible/practical I reviewed material with people who helped reconstruct events, chronology, and dialogue. Based on these reviews and my own notes, some of these incidents were compressed, consolidated or reordered to accommodate memories of everyone consulted. This memoir was edited and rearranged over many drafts in an effort to be as accurate as possible.

All dialogue is based on my memory and the notes I took. The names of most of the characters (mainly, the shoppers) were changed. The names of some were omitted. Even so, there are no composite characters in this memoir.

If you read a sentence, page, paragraph or even a chapter that you feel is outrageous or untrue, it is nonetheless very real. Everything written in this book actually happened. It’s my story.

Peace and food for all.

Thurman Greco

Woodstock, New York

Thank you for reading this article. And, thank you in advance for reading this new book. I’ll be sharing it with you in the coming months. I hope you enjoy it. Please share it with your favorite social media network.

A Holiday Thank You Dear Reader

Dear Reader

In the spirit of the holiday, I want to thank each of you for supporting my work and following the story of hungry people in America. This has been a busy year for me and, without your support, none of this year would have been possible. However you found my blog and the story of hungry people, whatever keeps you returning, I thank you.

This blog has existed since February, 2014. This year has been one of few posts.

Why? Well, “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” finally published and I spend time now marketing and selling the book instead of writing and posting articles. Thank you for standing beside the hunger message this year. I pledge more and better articles in the coming year.

I discovered the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market in Woodstock, New York, where I had a booth on weekends for the summer and autumn. This is the perfect place for a book. People buy the book and return to the market to share their enthusiasm for the story. Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy. I plan to return to this delightful place when it opens in May.

Each new reader and follower learns something from the story about hunger in America and each new reader inspires and motivates me to find new ways to share this hidden story. Thank you.

A second volume is on the way. I’m hopeful that “The Ketchup Sandwich Chronicles” will join “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” on the book table at the flea market in 2019. There’s certainly room for another book about hunger in America. Thank you.

Thank you for reading the blog and the books. When you read them, we both learn more about hunger, a subject important to us all because there just shouldn’t be any hungry people in our country.

Thank you

Thurman Greco
Woodstock, New York

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Holiday Christmas Feast December 25th at Congregation Emanuel

Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley at 243 Albany Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401 is having its second annual Christmas Feast on December 25th from noon until 3:00 pm.
You are invited!
Christmas Feast Holiday dinners are always a good time to get together with others and get to know new people. Holiday dinners are a good time to sit at a table and swap news stories and enjoy food with one another. The members and volunteers at Congregational Emanuel hope you’ll join us at the Feast on the 25th.
Thank you for reading this article. Please share this blog post with your friends and refer it to your preferred social network. Please don’t forget to tell your friends about this feast and share this post with your email neighbors.

Thank you –

Thurman Greco

May the coming new year bring you the best of all you need and desire.

Summer Came and Went. And a book signing…

Please join me.

You are invited to attend my Author’s Reading and book signing on Saturday morning, September 22nd at 10:00 am on the grounds of the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market.

Refreshments will be served.

School is starting.  And, once again, the focus of my life has adjusted itself.  Hunger takes us all to new places that we never thought we would go.

For me, I spent the past two years  writing my hunger book.  I felt as if I’d gone into a cave…a writer’s cave.  And, of course, with all this time in the cave, the inevitable finally  happened:  a book signing.

I finished the book!  Not only that, I’m working on the follow-on volume.  But, that’s getting off message.

A book signing is always appropriate in September.

Where?  I’m  selling the book at the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market in Woodstock.  Somehow, I feel this was the logical direction I was headed from the first day:  a book signing.

I sell the book….and a lot more.  While selling  the book, people purchase other used books and gently used items to raise money for the hungry.

I’m selling items and collecting donations to buy peanut butter for a pantry which doesn’t have any on the shelves on the day I call the pantry.  Why peanut butter?

Peanut butter doesn’t need refrigeration.

It can be eaten by people who no longer have teeth.

Peanut butter has a generous shelf life.

For homeless people, peanut butter is a staple.

But, getting back to the basics,  people are dropping gently used items off at my home.  I wash them, or dust them off, and otherwise freshen them up and then take them to Mower’s Meadow on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays.

The prices are reasonable.  The items are really nice.  People fighting hunger are being  really generous.

Lucy and Erin made a wonderful banner for my booth so  people know what’s happening in the booth.

Thank you for reading this blog post.  Please refer it to your preferred social media network.

I look forward to seeing you at the Book Signing  at 10:00 on the 22nd!

Thurman Greco

 

 

9 Things You Can Do to Cut Out the Unhealthy Salt in Your Life So You Can Be Healthier

 

If being involved in a pantry does nothing else, it teaches us to be aware of the impact that salt has on our health.  Getting too much salt, and getting the wrong salt, are two important things we need to learn about in order to be healthier.

An important ingredient in fast food is salt.  Many canned soups we eat at home have unrealistically high amounts of salt.  Salt is everywhere!

1.  ADD CELERY TO YOUR MEALS WHENEVER YOU CAN.  Sprinkle chopped celery on salads, soup, cooked vegetables, cooked meats.  Be generous.  Celery  offers a crunch, and has potassium, something we all need.  If you can get enough celery at the pantry, stuff it with peanut butter for a healthy meal or snack.  If you suffer with hypertension, eat generous amounts of celery every day.

2.  WHEN YOU MAKE SALADS WITH  ONIONS, AND RADISHES, YOU WON’T MISS THE SALT AT ALL.

3.  BE GENEROUS WITH PEPPER AND HERBS.

4.  GO FOR EDIBLE FLOWERS.  Experiment with herbs and flowrs on your salads:  chives, dandelions, garlic, mint, nasturtiums, onions, violets.

5.  CHOPPED FRESH GREEN BEANS ARE GOOD TASTE TREATS ON SOUPS, SALADS, VEGETABLES.

6.  LOW SODIUM CANNED BEANS SUCH AS PINTOS, CHICKPEAS, BLACK, KIDNEY MAKE GOOD ADDITIONS TO SALADS, SOUPS, VEGETABLES.

7.  MAKE YOUR OWN CROUTONS.  Your homemade variety will be just as tasty if you rub the bread with garlic before preparation and then sprinkle them with herbs.

8.  MAKE YOUR OWN SOUP.  The best soups come without a label.  What you prepare at home can have less fat, salt, sugar, MSG and preservatives.  Substitute herbs.

9.  SALAD DRESSING YOU MAKE AT HOME CAN BE MORE FLAVORFUL IF YOU CAN USE UNREFINED OILS.  That way, you’ll get healthy fats, vitamins, and distinctive flavors.

Thank you for reading this blog.

Please share this article with your preferred social media network.

There will be more posts in the future about healthy eating and at least one will feature Real Salt, which I recommend.  Hope you find them both fun and interesting.

Peace and food for all.

Thurman Greco

A Politician Came to the House Today

I got a visit from a politician today, asking for my vote.

I simply couldn’t help myself so  I told him about the hungry in America.  It was easy to talk about the one in seven seniors in our country who don’t have enough to eat.  And I talked about the one in five children in our country who don’t have enough to eat either.

This young politician is interested in the welfare of Americans and talked a lot about health care and jobs and equal pay.  He talked about funding for seniors and programs for seniors.  He discussed everything but food.  Frankly, there was not one mention of food.

And, I stood there and listened to the speech and just couldn’t stand it any more.

Until this young man really sees hunger for what it is, he’ll never know the real situation for what it is.  It may be years (or maybe never) before he realizes how hard it is for the elderly to get food when their shoulders and knees don’t work, they no longer drive, and they live in a food desert.

Routinely, seniors choose between food and transportation, food and housing, food and health care.

Few know about food pantries and hunger unless they work and shop in one.  Beyond that, a food pantry is hidden.  People shopping in one certainly don’t tell anyone where they get their groceries.  And, those working in one don’t talk much either.

Pantry food distributed to families helps children learn better in school and help their parents work harder at the many jobs they hold down.

When people come to a pantry, they can forget for a while their  situation often means they pay more for what they get if they live in a food desert.  And that, at times, they simply get less because the food may not be available in their neighborhood.

Often, they do without if they have no access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  Instead, they go through the pantry line and leave with foods they could not otherwise buy.

On behalf of everyone who shops or volunteers at a food pantry, I offer gratitude for the wonderful food available to the many hungry people who need it.

Thanks for reading this article!

Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.

Thurman Greco

I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore!

It’s OUT!  It’s in print!  The story has been told!  And, you can get a copy.  Today!  Right now!

Simply go to thurmangreco.com and order it on paypal.

If you prefer, you can wait until next Wednesday, and get it on Amazon.

And, it’s beginning to appear in independent book stores.

What began as a project, guaranteed not to take no more than two hours a month has become a calling.  And, as of this week, it’s become a non-profit seeking  food and funds to feed the hungry.

It took more than five years of work.  Reams and Reams of paper were used.  Two computers blew up.  One copier died of exhaustion.

Get the book, read it, and let me know how you feel about what you read.

And, please share this unbelievably exciting news.

And, watch for the T-shirts!

I’ve got a food drive going now.  Please donate peanut butter.   Locally, you can donate food, at 31 Tannery Brook, Woodstock.

Any and all food and funds you donate will go to a food pantry.  You can send a check to Thurman Greco, 31 Tannery Brook, Woodstock, NY 12498.  OR, you can make a donation via paypal.  You can get to the paypal site by going to http://www.thurmangreco.com.

OR, you can give something directly to your local food pantry!

And, thank you in advance for understanding the situation and for sharing what you can with those who have less than you.

Help me FEED THE HUNGRY!

Peace and food for all.

Please share this article with your favorite social media outlet.

THANKS!

Thurman Greco

 

 

 

It’s Food Drive Time!

This is the season for a food drive! It’s food drive time!

Food drives are important in the spring and early summer because food pantry shelves are depleted now.  Storerooms are empty.  The emptiness will continue from now until the fall.

It’s food drive time!

Food pantries everywhere are trying to build their stocks up for the worst month of the year:  August.

So, now is a really good time for you to put on your generous hat and donate food to your food pantry!  There are a couple of ways to do this.

You can clean out your kitchen shelves and give the food you know you are never going to use to a nearby food pantry.  That’s an easy, and tried-and-true way to donate food.  But, if you want to get creative, there are other ways to go about donating food to a food pantry.

Do you have a birthday or anniversary coming up?  Invite everyone you know to a party celebrating your birthday or anniversary and ask everyone to bring  food for a food pantry instead of a gift.

Have a food drive where you ask someone in a group you belong to for donations.  This can be pretty easy.  You can have a work food drive or a school food drive or a church group food drive.  It really doesn’t matter what the group is.  What matters is that you and a group of your co-workers get together and give food to a food pantry to feed hungry people.

When you are planning a food drive, don’t forget that pantries are in need of items of dignity.  Now might be a good time to hold an Item of Dignity drive.  People are always looking for toothbrushes, toilet paper, razors, tampons.

Food Pantries are the first line of defense against hunger.

The truth is that food pantries are not perfect.  Not anywhere near perfect, actually.  And, they never will be.  How can they be near perfect when there is often not enough food in the pantry to feed the many people shopping there?

But, they get to be as near to perfection as they do because the people who work in them are often retired, elderly volunteers who really care and have the time to put in extra effort.

And, how can they be perfect when the food is mostly donated food that was on its way to the landfill before some enterprising person snapped it up for the hungry people in the line?

And, the truth is that food pantries, to a certain extent, are neighbors helping neighbors.  This is a wonderful attitude.

The positive energy is exhibited in this sharing wonderful world, indeed.  Without these wonderful people and their generous attitudes, people would be starving in this great nation of ours.  Food pantries are our first line of defense against hunger.

But, often these food pantries which depend to a great extent on the generosity of individuals simply don’t have enough food.  Insufficient is the word used.

Because there is little oversight, there is little control.  So, a person shopping at a pantry may get enough to eat or may not.  The quality of the food has little oversight.  So, the person shopping may be getting food which is all out-of-date, or which is food which cannot be eaten by the person needing the food.

An example of this is the person without teeth.  People without teeth are very restricted in what they can take because they can’t chew many foods.

Another example is the diabetic person who can only eat certain types of food without health problems.

And, all quality issues aside, there may simply be insufficient food in the pantry to feed the number of people shopping even though a pantry is the first line of defense against hunger.

Personally, in the Good Neighbor Food Pantry, I had a morning when I ran out of food.  I simply didn’t have enough food to give to the people.  This was an experience I’ll never forget.

Finally, the Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program people sent down guidelines requiring that pantries serve a three-day-supply of food for each person in the household.  HPNAP guidelines required that pantries serve fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.  Pantries were asked to serve whole grain breads and low-fat milk.

This was a wonderful thing which I applauded enthusiastically when I learned about the guideline.  However, it was challenging to the many pantries without freezers and refrigerators.

The truth is that pantries everywhere simply don’t have enough food to meet the demand.

What can we do about this?  For starters, we can realize that pantries are our first line of defense against hunger in this country.

Then, we can follow up this realization with food donations throughout the year.

One can of something every week helps over time.  Find a pantry and give to help those in need.  Do you plant a garden in the summer?  Add a row for your pantry!

Thank you for what you are doing for those in need.

I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore – Coming Soon!

IT’S COMING SOON!

After countless reams of computer paper, dozens and dozens of writing classes, three computers and two copiers, the book about hunger is at the publisher’s!

And, I actually heard the word “done” today!  I’m ecstatic beyond words!

Somebody else could have done it with only one computer disaster  and  one copier blow up.  But, I never claimed to be a writer.

This endeavor took years.  And, it was worth it.    I felt  this story needed to be told when I started writing it in 2013 and I’m sticking to my opinion.  Hunger in America was then and is now a national event which needs to be shared.

A real Woodstock story, “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” tells about   the people in the pantry,  channels my grandmother,  and reveals a few  miracles.

I’m proud to say that “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” will, within days, be available in paperback and eBook editions on Amazon.

I am already scheduling book signings for this book.  If you are in the area, I look forward to seeing you at one near you!

You can purchase this book by going to my website at http://www.thurmangreco.com.

Order your copy, and please share this unbelievably exciting news!

Thurman

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