Hunger Is Not a Disease

Prayer for the Hungry – Number 3

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I stand before you humbly, O Holy One, the One God of Israel as I offer a prayer for the hungry .

I offer thanksgiving, praises, blessings in this prayer for the hungry.

I ask for your forgiveness and mercy, O God.  All life is in Your hands.

I come to you humbly, asking for protection – not for myself but for those hungry individuals and families who shop in food pantries everywhere.  This hunger weaves the souls of these shoppers together for all time.

Grant them hope and strength to travel through their days  courageously.

O Holy One, give them grace, mercy, harmony, peace.

Teach those of us working in pantries  to have patience as we support the hungry in their struggle to carry on day after day after day against all odds.

Please let us remember that,  through religious teaching everywhere,   we know You feed all of us – not only physically but spiritually.  Let this awareness  give the hungry confidence that their needs are being met.  Let this knowledge inspire us to make sure that everyone shopping at pantries everywhere receives the food and support necessary to carry on in the never relenting struggle.  Remind us continually that we are doing Your work.

Help us choose the right words as we communicate with the hungry so that a chance remark won’t make things worse.

Make us always aware of the hungry who are homeless and suffering with mental illness.  May you grant them complete healing – of body, mind, and spirit.

O God to Whom we all Pray, I offer you my most sincere gratitude for all you have don, are doing, and will do for those of us who suffer with hunger and homelessness.

And, now I say Amen.

Prayer for the Hungry – Number 2

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O Heavenly Father

I offer You gratitude for all Your blessings and love which You continually share with parents struggling with underemployment, poor health, insufficient food, transportation challenges.

I ask You, the source of all living things, to protect and guard parents who shop at the pantry.

Help them listen to their children’s needs as they struggle to live a life with insufficient resources… time, money, housing, health care.

Offer the peace which can only come when they know that You are a part of their lives every day.

O Heavenly Father, help them overcome their greatest fear – hunger.

Guide their lives so that no one in their household is hungry.

Encourage them to see the positive aspects of their lives.

Teach them to co-create abundance

Give them the courage to reach out when their needs are overwhelming.

Let them know that  they can be secure in their paths.

Teach them to travel through their lives with grace.

Offer them the wisdom they need to hear Your guidance.

When, if…they question the struggle, please let them know You are with them always.

Please, gently touch their lives with your healing hands when health issues become almost too much to bear.

I ask these things in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

 

Thank you for reading this blog dedicated to food pantries.

Please share this prayer on your preferred social media network.

Thurman Greco

Woodstock, NY

Art Work  donated by Jennette Nearhood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer for the Hungry – Number 1

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O GOD

Allow me to serve the hungry with an understanding heart.

Give me the courage to distribute food without strings being attached.

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.

Please help me to understand the many needs of the shoppers.

Never let me get so tired that I forget that we are all one group – Yours, O God.

You can help

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Your support is crucial to food pantries.  Food pantry volunteers everywhere  are committed to feeding the hungry with dignity and awareness.  People working in pantries  know  of the connection and kinship to every person who needs food.

When you help your local pantry, you  not only strengthen your community, but  offer  some peace and harmony for those caught in a seemingly never ending struggle.

When you support  a food pantry you help the volunteers in their work to feed the hungry.  No pantry can  succeed without you!  Here are some opportunities for participation:

SEND A PANTRY A FINANCIAL GIFT.

Pantries everywhere  need $$$ to keep  going.  Your contributions are tax deductible.  Think of a food pantry the next time you prepare your taxes.

CONSIDER A PERIODIC  DONATION.

It’s easy to set up a monthly or quarterly donation in whatever amount you choose on Paypal if your pantry of choice is signed up.    If you prefer to send a check, let the pantry treasurer  know so you can get some  self addressed envelopes to make the job easier.  Regular donations offer a financial flow coming to the pantry.  This is, really, the easiest way to offer your support.

PAY A SPECIFIC BILL FOR THE PANTRY.

One of the biggest ongoing expenses a pantry has is gasoline for pantry  vehicles.    You can help  in this effort when you buy a gas card for the pantry.  The volunteers will be appreciate  your generosity.

GIVE A DONATION TO HONOR A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER.

Often, when you give a contribution as a gift to a friend or loved one, the pantry  will send a personalized card to the recipient acknowledging your gift.  Include the name and address of the honoree, along with your tax deductible donation so the volunteer can do this.

SHARE THIS LETTER WITH EVERYONE ON YOUR EMAIL LIST.

Please forward this post to everyone you know.

PRAYERS, LOVING SUPPORT, AND KIND THOUGHTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

Thank you for  supporting your local food pantry.  You are important.  I send blessings your way.  Pantries do not work in a vacuum.  They simply cannot succeed without your help.

http://www.greatnationseat.org

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Peace and food for all.

Thurman Greco

The Monks are Going, Going, Gone

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They came in quietly, unannounced, a couple of years ago on the 10:05 Trailways  bus from Boston.    Eighteen monks in all.   They were transferred out of a lovely monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts,  these priests who traditionally never move at all.

They left quietly these last few weeks, unannounced.  They’re moving to a brand new monastery north of Albany.  Funny how these things happen.   I get the feeling that God is grinning from ear to ear.

We met them because, when they showed up in Woodstock they were temporarily hungry.  The story was slow to surface and I wrote about it earlier in this blog and on the Good Morning Woodstock Blog .  They shopped at the Good Neighbor Food Pantry until they got their budget straightened out.  Once we found them, Peggy made sure they didn’t lack for anything if the pantry had anything to do with it.

In a very short time, weeks, they were delivering food to the home bound on Tuesday mornings with the other pantry volunteers.  They filled out an application to be a food  pantry with the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.  And, finally, they were attending our mass distributions.

Within a few short months they had their own food pantry going and were serving food to the hungry seven days a week.

Without saying a word, these men of the cloth showed us all how to feed the hungry.    They didn’t skimp.  They made as many food runs to Albany as they needed.  They offered whatever food they had to anyone who needed it.

Then, when I went out and helped open the Reservoir Food Pantry, they made sure we never lacked for yogurt.  Every time the pantry opened we had a freezer filled  for our hungry.

I mean, these priests showed us all how to feed the hungry.  They didn’t offer a three-day-supply of food to someone with the understanding that it needed to last seven days.  They didn’t spend a lot of time focusing on questions about where people lived.  It didn’t matter whether a person was homeless or not.

When the hungry pulled away from the Holy Assumption Monastery Food Pantry, they had  enough food to not only feed the body but the soul.

So now, the priests, who traditionally never  leave a monastery and move to another monastery, are packing up their gorgeous beeswax candle factory, their Food Bank ID number, and moving off to a community which really needs their skills, their dedication, their belief system.

Frankly, I was devastated when I heard the news.  I went out to visit and write the story.  I couldn’t do it.

I sat, visited, and kept asking myself “How can this happen?”  The answer is easy, folks.  They are being asked to take their skills and expertise to Schoharie County where no one is going to question the ethics of feeding the hungry.

And, I  take comfort in the fact that we have not been abandoned in Woodstock.  We have been taught our lesson.  So…now the monastery is being converted into a convent.

These gorgeous men of God are taking their smiles, their radiant halos, their worship, and their food pantry skills to Cobbleskill, New York and they will press on with their daily lives.

The good nuns will have a pantry in Bearsville for our hungry. I understand they’ve already got their own Food Bank ID number.   God is making sure we don’t forget what we learned.

Thank you for reading this blog/book.

Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.

Thurman Greco

 

Hunger is Not a Disease

 

FullSizeRender-1-300x278This week’s post is not going to happen.

There will be no new articles until after the first week in January because I am working on my reflexology book.

Thank you for your patience.  This is a project which I must finish.

I wish you a truly joyful and abundant new year!

Thurman Greco

How to Successfully Shop at a Food Pantry

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At a time when people are busy wrapping gifts and planning festivities, some are struggling just to pay the rent and buy gas to get to work.  Hungry is not a category of people.  It’s a situation that happens.  It can happen to anyone.  December is especially hard on those visiting a food pantry for the first time.  It’s the reason I write this guide

Leave fear, embarrassment, shame, tears at the door.  Most people using pantries are finally in a place where they can rebuild and heal.  When the struggle for food is relieved, life finally feels as if it’s getting better.  For many, the pantry is a safe place.  This is a good group to join.

Arrive a hour before the pantry opens  This makes for a long wait but there’s a better selection right at the beginning.   Use this time to network with your line neighbors.  They can be a resource if you’re trying to  navigate your way through Department of Social Services, being foreclosed upon, get your car repaired.

Learn how long you’ll be in the shopping room, what foods are usually found on the shelves, whether you get to choose the food or receive a bag of groceries, what other pantries people shop at.

Bring some ID.  Some pantries require much:  photo ID, proof of residence, proof that other family members exist.

Once you’re registered, shop every time you’re allowed.  With luck, you’ll find a pantry offering weekly visits.  People sometimes just don’t go if they still have any SNAP card (food stamp) money or if they have a few bucks left over from a paycheck.  Pantries have different food every week and you may miss out on some real savings by not shopping often.

Some pantries have periodic visits from nutritionists offering recipes and food tastings.  Don’t be shy.  Ask for information you need to adjust to the new way of cooking offered by pantries where food choices are different from the super market.  If you’re suddenly cooking with only a crock pot or microwave, the nutritionist can be a valuable resource.

You may see fresh fruits and vegetables you don’t recognize.  At each pantry visit, take home one new food, find a recipe and prepare it.  If you do this, your cooking skills will be vastly improved over time.

Volunteer.  Giving away food and sharing smiles with those around you offers its own spirituality.  You’ll interact with people you never thought in your wildest dreams you would ever even meet.  Pantry shoppers are traveling down a path away from hunger.  Go with this journey which opens the door to inner growth.

Stick with this new routine.  It’s the 21st century way to get delicious, nutritious groceries  for your household.  It’s been years since pantries offered exclusively emergency food.

Thank you for reading this blog/book.

Please share this article with your preferred social media network.  Also, please share this information with anyone who may be able to use it.

Don’t forget to join the email list.

Peace and food for all..

Thurman Greco

Take $1 – Leave $1

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The young musician’s sign said it all:

TAKE $1

LEAVE  $1

She sat on the sidewalk in front of Houst the other day, with her guitar box open.  True to Woodstock tradition, she was singing for  tips.  Her sign, her posture, her music really resonated with me.  I really feel that we are now fast approaching the point in our country  where our residents are divided into two groups:

those who use pantries, soup kitchens

those who do not use pantries, soup kitchens

So, that puts us in the Take $1 –  Leave $1 lifestyle.

Food pantries  and soup kitchens, through the food distribution process work relentlessly to end hunger.  Most  people working in pantries or soup kitchens are volunteers who understand  they offer hope and sustenance to a community of people living with and affected by  hunger and, in some cases, homelessness.

Any amount you can spare will help make the pantry or soup kitchen you support a better place.  Please send a donation today.  Your gift will make a difference in the lives of people who have little and need a lot.  Take $1 – Leave $1

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Thurman Greco

Thank you for reading this blog.  The story is true.  The people are real.

Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.

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http://www.feedingamerica.org

Connect – 8 Ways to Help the Homeless

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“Homeless is not a category of people.  It’s just a situation that happens.  It can happen to anyone.” – Salvador Altamirano-Segura

The homeless have problems just like you and me:

employment

health issues

disabilities

domestic violence

veterans

THEY JUST DON’T HAVE A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS.

Homeless people, families enter food pantries very quietly.  They’ve lost their voices.  The goal is to melt into the background, get food, and disappear.

There is an exception to the voicelessness when the person communicates with beings unknown to the rest of us in tongues we don’t understand.  One shopper I know has been in another world since before I began working in the pantry in 2005.

We can all help the homeless in some way.  Each of us has talents and skills which can be useful.

1.  DONATE.  Homeless people carry their kitchens in their pockets so a lot of food which we take for granted and use is just not helpful.  Important in the homeless diet is:

peanut butter and crackers

cereal in small packages

fruits and vegetables which can be eaten raw

milk in small containers.

Give throughout the year by regularly donating to a food pantry in your area which is most homeless friendly.

2.  VOLUNTEER.  Pantries everywhere need an extra set of hands to:

Answer mail

Drive a truck

Serve food

Clean up at closing time

Send press releases

Hold food drives

Straighten shelves

Deliver food to the home bound

3.  CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSETS.  Donate clothing, bedding, books,  in good condition to places where the homeless will have access to your gently used items.

4.  SHARE.  Do you or does someone you know have a garden?  Donate the excess to a homeless friendly pantry or soup kitchen in your area.  When your garden  tomatoes get to be too plentiful,  there are those in your area who need the food. Donate, don’t dump.

5.  PUSH THE ENVELOPE.   Contact elected officials about homeless issues in your area.  Encourage them to make ending homelessness important in your community.

6.  EDUCATE YOURSELF.  Returning veterans have special needs.  For one thing, they often begin their separation from the military homeless.

7.  FIND A JOB.  Encourage your church or community to hire a homeless person.  Many homeless want to work, have skills, but have trouble finding regular employment.

8.  TEACH.  Do you have a skill to share?  Contact a local shelter and offer to give classes.

Thank you for reading this blog/book.

The stories are true.  The people are real.

Please share this article with your preferred social media network.  And send it to anyone you know who might be interested.

Don’t forget to join the email list.

Artwork for this article was donated by Jennette Nearhood

 

Thurman Greco

5 Important Things You Need to Know About SNAP

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“Hunger and income inequality is probably the single biggest issue facing this country.” – Susan Zimet

When you use SNAP, you don’t  just get  much needed food for your household.  When you use SNAP, you  create a ripple effect of money  for your community.  You can use your SNAP card with pride knowing how your purchases will benefit your area.

Here’s how it works:  SNAP is federal money.  When you use your SNAP card at a local supermarket, you bring  it  into your community.    The grocer uses the  money to benefit the local grocery store.  This purchase strengthens local businesses.

Are you in a household with senior/disabled members? If so, you may still qualify for SNAP even if you have a higher income.  SNAP works for individuals, couples, and families.

Are you paying mandated child support?  If so, this money  you use to pay child support is not counted toward your income.

You can work and still qualify for SNAP, stretching  your food budget every month.  When you use SNAP, you  more easily afford the nutritious foods you and your family need.

You can shop at a food pantry and still qualify for SNAP.

SNAP can be an important addition to you and your household budget.  Apply for this benefit today to help yourself, your household, and your community.  How cool is that?

Thanks for reading this blog.

The story is true.  The people are real.

Don’t forget to join the email list.

Please refer this article to your preferred social media network and to anyone you know you may benefit from SNAP but is not using it.

Thurman Greco