“GIVERS GIVE.” – Kim Klein
“Thank you for being so kind. It really helped to come here. You made my situation seem a little better” the woman said as she left the pantry yesterday. We hear words like this every week…every pantry shift. People are grateful for kind words accompanying a three-day-supply of food. At the pantry, they hear kind words and then go home (wherever and whatever that is) and put food in an empty refrigerator if they have one.
KIND WORDS ARE EASY. The most difficult task I’ve encountered in the pantry since 2005 is to teach people that we’re working with a new paradigm.
In the 20th century, our nation offered government-sponsored welfare programs, and volunteerism. Private charity extended stopgap efforts and emergency assistance feeding programs to deal with hungry people.
Now, in the early 21st century, welfare reform offers cutbacks and reductions in public assistance programs. Wages decline. Housing costs increase. Corporate’s favorite method for boosting stock prices is to lay off employees and downsize to increase profitability. While these techniques may increase the Dow Jones Average, they accompany deteriorating economic security and accelerate inequality. Our hopes for eliminating poverty have been abandoned.
People hold down two and three minimum-wage jobs. Paychecks cover only rent and transportation. Food assistance is no longer emergency. People rely on food pantries and soup kitchens for their food. For members of the Struggling Class, there is no money for food…not last month, not this month, not next month.
So, this wonderful new industry is developing which recycles food rejected from grocery stores, food manufacturers, farms. Food Banks divert food from landfills and distribute it to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters.
THE FALLOUT FROM THIS IS FABULOUS! Money is being saved on dumpsters, composters, compacters, and landfill fees. This responsible method of disposing of unwanted excess food also offers us the opportunity to be kinder to our planet as we improve our environment. Besides, why throw away good food ?
THERE’S ALL THIS FOOD OUT THERE. There’s enough food for everyone. Why can’t we just stop the push back and feed the people? When this happens, our lives (everyone’s lives) will be different.
IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT HUNGRY CHILDREN AND GRANDMOTHERS.
Pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, halfway houses are our tax dollars at work. The food effort is mostly manned by volunteers diverting food headed to the landfill. This recycling effort works to keep people from starving in the streets.
YOU CAN BE COMFORTABLE SHOPPING AT A PANTRY. Just walk up, ride a bicycle up, or drive up to your neighborhood pantry and shop for the food you need. Hold your head high, knowing that by shopping at a food pantry, you are helping reduce landfills and you are visiting a facility where your tax dollars are at work.
If you are still uncomfortable shopping at your neighborhood food pantry after a few visits, either try out another pantry or call up the manager and volunteer. You won’t be hungry anymore. You’ll meet new friends, get good exercise, and become very knowledgeable of food. You’ll be doing wonderful things for our planet too.
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Peace and food for all.
feeding the homeless, Feeding the Hungry, food pantry blog, homelessness, Hunger is Not a Disease blog, Thurman Greco, Upstate New York