Hunger Is Not a Disease

10 Things You Can Do For Hungry People Now

DONATE FOOD TO A FOOD PANTRY
When you purchase groceries, buy a few extra jars or cans of food and take them to your neighborhood food pantry.
Peanut butter is my favorite choice. It’s shelf stable so needs no refrigeration. That makes it good for homeless people. It doesn’t spoil quickly so it can be used by a household with one or ten people. It doesn’t require a lot of chewing so it’s good for a person with no teeth. In short, peanut butter is a perfect food choice for a food pantry.
However, if you would rather choose another item, go with whatever you want to give. Whatever you choose, it will be selected by someone shopping in the pantry.

CLEAN OUT YOUR KITCHEN CABINETS
Give the unused items to your local food pantry.

HOST A FOOD DRIVE
Invite your friends and neighbors to help you collect food for your local food pantry.

DONATE CLEAN EGG CARTONS AND REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS TO YOUR FOOD PANTRY.
Food pantries are always in need of shopping bags and egg cartons. Eggs coming to a food pantry usually come in cases – without the cartons.
Shopping bags are not usually found on food pantry shopping lists.

CLEAN OUT THAT CLOSET!
Take your gently used clothing and bedding to a pantry or soup kitchen for distribution. I recently learned that the clothing item most needed in shelters is socks.
I also learned that women’s shelters are always in need of bras.
In the Albany, New York, area, you can send gently used or new women’s bras to:
YWCA – Greater Capitol Region
Brava
21 First Street
Troy, New York 12180

CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAY.
Invite people to a party and ask them to give donations to a food pantry instead of a gift.

GIVE A LITTLE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
Make a regular donation to a food pantry. This translates to sending a check or gas card every month or quarter.

CONTACT ELECTED OFFICIALS AND PERSONS OF INFLUENCE.
Motivate them to make ending hunger and homelessness a priority. Encourage them to support fair wages and benefits for workers.

READ A BOOK.
“Take This Bread” by Sara Miles, “Under the Overpass” by Mike Yankoski, “I am Your Neighbor” by David R. Brown and Roger Wright, and “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” by Thurman Greco are four books which tell revealing stories about hungry people in America.

START A SCHOOL BACKPACK PROGRAM.
Backpack programs send food home on Friday afternoons to households where children would not otherwise eat over the weekend without the donated foods.

Thanks for reading this article! Please refer it to your preferred social media network.

Thurman Greco

Woodstock

.

This was almost the last weekend.

There’s only one more weekend left at Mower’s Meadow Flea Market this year. I’ll be there the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving and then that’ll be it for awhile. I understand the flea market doesn’t open weekends again until May.

Don’t quote me on that. I’m not sure. But, one thing I’m sure about: I plan to be there every weekend next season. The hunger book, the donation jar, and I plan to be at Mower’s Meadow Flea Market next season.

I was at a different spot at the flea market every weekend. And, I really enjoyed being there. The people at the other booths were friendly, open, and interested in my booth. I got many tips and tried them all. It was obvious to everyone that I really didn’t know much about flea market marketing. I still don’t know much but my booth presentation has definitely improved.

Thank you to each and every one who bought copies of “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore”. I doubt if “The Ketchup Sandwich Chronicles” will be available by then but I working on it every day.

The title “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” was named by Cullen Thomas and it was well chosen. Many people who picked up the book on the table were bothered by the title because they didn’t understand it. However, it definitely attracted attention.

For those with questions, the title referred to an “unhoused” congregation serving people outside the sanctuary. And, the food pantry was definitely outside the boundary of the sanctuary. The food pantry was, in fact, in the basement.

This story isn’t about how to fix or save or change a church. Nor is it, really, a story about a church at all. In fact, it’s not a manual about anything. It’s a story about how I discovered hungry people in the basement of the building in a tiny food pantry in the corner room.

A memoir, this story tells the truth as I remember it.

If you haven’t had a chance to read this book, it’ll be available at thurmangreco.com during the winter unless I find an indoor weekend flea market that’s appropriate for a table of books and open on the weekend.

My goal is to offer Reiki therapy and tarot readings in addition to the books at the flea market in the future.

But, whether I offer Reiki and tarot or not, I plan to be at a table selling both “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” and “Healer’s Handbook”. When “Ketchup Sandwich Chronicles” comes out, I’ll add it to the stack!

See you there!

Thurman Greco

Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.

Seniors and Those Who Care for Them

What does this photo have to do with hungry seniors and those who care for them?  A lot, actually.  This photo is a group of seniors  getting food from the Reservoir Food Pantry in Boiceville, New York.

Carolina Gerard, an outreach intern from the National Council for Aging Care forwarded an article to me this week.  It addresses some of the causes, complications, and cures for senior food insecurity.  Can you take a moment to go to http://www.aginginplace.org/the-facts-behind-senior-hunger

I’m sure you will find it interesting and engaging.

Thanks again for reading  this article.  Please share it with your favorite social media network.

 

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

Please share this blog article with your preferred social media network!

 

Help the Homeless

The world of people who are homeless may seem very foreign – But, it’s actually very near.  We meet people every day who are just like us, only they don’t have a roof over their heads.

We can all find ourselves without a roof when we lose a job.  Or, maybe a spouse  dies.  Possibly an accident which leaves physical disabilities is the cause.  In short, all it takes is a personal tragedy.

 

There are many things we can do to help end homelessness.  There are many, many things we can do to help those who are struggling with homelessness.

One easy way we can help is to take a little extra food along when we go out of our home to work or on errands.  A few extra sandwiches will help.  When a person asks for change, offer him or her a sandwich.

A couple of times each year, gather the clothes you are no longer going to wear and donate them to shelters and pantries providing services to help those who are homeless.

While you gather clothes for the homeless, look at your family’s toys, books, and  games and select those that are no longer being used.  Children living in shelters have few possessions and will enjoy them.

Can you spare an hour or two?  Tutors can make all the difference.  Volunteer to tutor children in shelters.

Celebrate your birthday or anniversary and ask the people you invite to bring items for the homeless.

Carry fast food certificates with you when you are going out.  Hand them out to people who are homeless.

Hold a food drive and take the food to a shelter or a pantry in your area.

Donate your collectable recyclable cans and bottles to people who are homeless.  Donate a bag of groceries to a soup kitchen, shelter, or food pantry.

Volunteer at a food pantry or shelter.

Volunteer your professional services.  Lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and dentists can all use your skills when you volunteer at a pantry or shelter.

Ask your company, church, school to host a fund-raising event for a pantry or homeless shelter.  Items of dignity are really needed by the homeless.

Thank you for reading this article!

Please refer this article to your favorite social media network.

Thurman Greco

PS:  The hunger book is really moving along.  Things just never get finished as quickly as we all wish.  Writing a book requires years and years of research and writing.  In writing the hunger book, I have gone through thousands and thousands of sheets of paper and three computers.  I have spent years and years getting this story moved  from an event in my life to a book which will attract you or not in less than two  minutes.

Whew!

SNAP

SNAP is important.  SNAP will help you if you are having trouble buying groceries.

SNAP is important for your community, too, because when you are able to get food with SNAP, you will have cash available to help pay your rent or buy gas to get back and forth to work.

Have you, or has someone you know, applied for SNAP?  SNAP was formerly known as food stamps..  SNAP is about all that’s left in the way of assistance for people because welfare is shrinking and shrinking and shrinking yet again.

If you are having trouble paying for your groceries, now is a good time to apply.  If you’ve applied in the past and were denied, maybe you need to apply again.  You may, after all, have answered a question incompletely or incorrectly and were denied this benefit.  Try again.  You might do better this time around, especially if you or someone in your house is disabled or is a senior with medical expenses.

Some people are reluctant to apply for SNAP because they don’t know if they are eligible.  Or, maybe they applied in the past but were denied.  Many people don’t know how to apply and are overwhelmed by the application.  Some people have never heard of SNAP and think of it as food stamps.

One thing:  If you work, you need to know how to meet the work requirements.

Some information is needed to successfully apply for SNAP.  This information comes in several categories.

Proof of income is necessary.  This comes in the form of pay stubs, social security income information.

An identification is needed.  This might be a State ID, passport, birth certificate, etc.

Bills help.  This will include medical, heating, water, auto, rent.

Your social security number and the numbers of everyone in your household is necessary.

Dependent Care Costs will help.  These include day care costs, child support, attendant for disabled adult.

Contact your local Department of Social Services office to arrange for application assistance.  If this doesn’t work for you, contact your Office on Aging or Catholic Charities.

SNAP is an important benefit which will help you if you are having trouble buying groceries.

SNAP is important for your community, too, because when you are able to get food with stamps, you will have cash available to help pay your rent or buy gas to get back and forth to work.

SNAP is important for your household because you’ll be able to get more food with your SNAP card and you won’t be hungry anymore.

This translates to better health.

Thank you for reading this blog post.

Please share this article with your preferred social media network.

Please forward this article to anyone and everyone you know who might be able to have a better life with SNAP.

Thurman Greco

This book is being published now and will be available soon!

This book will be going to the publisher before the end of the year.

 

Serving the Hungry with an Understanding Heart

O Lord, You are a God of Abundance.

Allow me to serve the hungry with an open heart.

Give me the courage to distribute food without strings attached when volunteers are serving the hungry.

May I never need to keep score.

Give me the physical strength to keep the shelves of the pantry stocked with as much food as we can pack on them.

Grant me the emotional stamina to understand the many needs of the shoppers.

Never let me get so tired that I forget we are all one group:  Yours

At the food pantry, hunger is hunger.  It doesn’t matter what size the household is, what size the car is, or what or where the family calls home.  At the food pantry, no one has to complete an application shop.  What’s important is that the person is in the line and there is food for that person and his/her household.

Lord, You send over the food, You send over the people and You send over enough food for everyone with some left over.  This happens every pantry day on every week.  People are always welcome.  Lord, You bring people together through the food pantry.

Thank You for all You do for the hungry.

Amen

Thank you for reading this blog.

Please share this article with your  social media network.

Peace and food for all.

Thurman Greco – Woodstock, New York

But are they hungry? – Happy Holidays

 

“How dare you feed this kind of food to these people?  If they’re hungry enough they’ll eat anything.”
“That woman has a car and her son has a job.  She shouldn’t get pantry food.”

 

 

 

 

 

“How dare you serve this much food to those kinds of people?”

The “are they hungry” issue looms large in food pantry conflicts.  The fears are many and boil down to this:

1.  Financially comfortable people will shop at a pantry when they actually have the money to go to a supermarket.

2.  Riffraff are going to take the pantry food and sell it.

3.  Many people shopping at a pantry wouldn’t need to come to a pantry if they managed their money better.

Very few people are comfortable with the concept that pantry volunteers give the food away…no strings attached.  An unspoken concept here is that the hungry, the struggling class, individually and as a group should be punished for being the downtrodden.

Sometimes when I try to sort the whole thing out in my head, I’m reminded of the chicken yard my grandmother had during World War II.  Occasionally, a chicken would be ill and the other chickens would begin to peck at it.  If the chicken didn’t get well, it would be pecked to death.

For me, this is simply not an issue.  I welcome all shoppers.  They don’t have to be destitute although I did see many hungry people in a pantry.  Pantry shoppers everywhere routinely endure

long lines

uncomfortable waiting conditions

lack of choice.

The lines in a pantry can routinely be longer than an hour.  The hungry wait in line whether it’s raining, snowing, or if there are broiling summer temperatures. Outside pantry buildings, there is little or no protection from the elements.

The hungry wait in these lines to have access to about 30 different food products.  Compare that number to a trip to your local super market with it’s 10,000 or more items to choose from.

And, finally, if I ever could take the attitude that hungry people must have done something wrong and don’t deserve that kind of food, I remember the time I foolishly asked a child in line in the basement of the Woodstock Reformed Church about Christmas.

Santa doesn’t come to families that stand in the pantry line.

Thanks for reading this blog/book.

The story is true.  The people are real.

Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.

It’s Celebration Time! – Hunger Alleviation Today

It’s been a looong time everyone!  I’m offering an update today because the book is finished and going to press soon.  It’s been months, eons maybe, since I’ve posted on this blog and I’m grateful to be back.  It’s as if I’ve been living in a cave – a writing cave.

When a person purchases a book, the attention put to that purchase may certainly have been less than five minutes, maybe even two minutes.  Writing a book can take years.  This book has been in the making since 2005.  The manuscript has been foremost in my life since 2013.

And, if anything, the issues are more relevant now than they were in 2005.

For the past months I’ve put my full attention to the book because hunger alleviation is extremely important not only to me personally but to our nation in general.

Even if people don’t realize it.

But, yes, hunger alleviation is important because we have many, many people in our country who are not getting enough to eat.

There are many hunger prevention programs working to feed people who otherwise would not have enough to eat.  The holidays are coming.  Please think about sharing what you have with those who have less.

And, now, act on those wonderful thoughts of generosity.  Join the hunger alleviation movement!

Thanks for reading this blog post.  Thank you for your support of the hungry in our nation and around the world.

Peace and food for all.

Thurman Greco

 

 

 

 

Caring Hands

Kingston, New York is a rapidly gentrifying and trendy  trendy little town in New York State.   Almost every day I see new neighbors in this community.  They’ve found just the perfect weekend apartment and are ecstatically, euphorically furnishing it with just the perfect finds.  In short, they are in love with Kingston!

In their giddiness, they have may not have  yet noticed the Caring Hands Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen.  Or maybe they have.  Maybe they see that one of the most important  things about Kingston is that the residents care for one another.  This attitude helps make Kingston what it is – a community we all want to be part of.

2017 is turning out to be  a tough year for food pantries in general and Caring Hands Food Pantry in Kingston, New York in particular.  But, Caring Hands isn’t just a food pantry.  It’s a soup kitchen, and a warming center with a recovery and twelve-step program.  As if that’s not enough, they’ve got  a free legal clinic, too.

Volunteers at Caring Hands, under the direction of the Rev. Darlene L. Kelley at the Clinton Avenue Methodist Church, work hard as they put their beliefs into action daily.  Almost 600 meals are served weekly in the soup kitchen.  Over 3,000 households   receive groceries monthly.

Children, the elderly, families, veterans, and the ill are all welcome at Caring Hands.  The goal is to help people in need help themselves.  The message of God’s transforming love is spread throughout the community from the Clinton Avenue Methodist Church as it ripples out in waves.

It is easy for you to be a part of this message.  You don’t have to move to Kingston.  You don’t have to attend the church there.  You don’t even have to know anyone in the area.  All you need to do is give a little … or a lot … of whatever you can share.

  1.  Sending a check always helps.  Caring Hands always needs money.
  2.  Sending a gift certificate always helps, too.  Did someone give  you  a gift certificate that  that you’ll probably never use?  Well, now is a good time to use it.  Send it on over.
  3. Extra time is extremely valuable.  If you live in the area, you can be a part of this  miracle when you volunteer.  Your gift of presence will be greatly appreciated.
  4. Hold a food drive.  Gifts of food are always, always needed.  If you don’t live in the area, hold a food drive anyway and donate the cans and boxes of food to a food pantry in your area.
  5. Call an elected representative  and lobby for the poor and hungry in your area.  Persuade this elected official to be generous with funds for those around us who do not have everything they need to live a healthy life.
  6. Your prayers and kind thoughts are always welcome.  Those at Caring Hands as well as at other food pantries throughout our country are working hard to bring food and love to a broken community.  They need your support.

Caring Hands has a mailing address to send your check and/or  gift certificates:  CARING HANDS

c/o THE CLINTON AVENUE UMC

P. O. Box 1099

Kingston, New York 12402.

Thank you for reading this blog post.  Hopefully you’ll share it with your favorite social media outlet.

With this blog posted article comes an apology for not having posted often enough in the past months.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t care or that I’m no longer interested in hunger.  To the contrary.  I’m deeply involved in bringing my next book to my publisher.  And, it’s about hunger in America.

Thurman Greco