Hunger Is Not a Disease

Everybody Needs a Reality Check.


The Kingston, NY  Walmart is our reality check.  We sit outside the store every month asking for food to feed the hungry  (except December when the Salvation Army gets the sidewalk).    Three solid days of speaking with the people entering and leaving the Walmart tells us more about the economy, the state of the American people than any fancy reports, economic reviews, sophisticated papers, magazines.

“Just asking for a donation to help us feed the hungry at the Reservoir Food Pantry.”

“What do you need?”

“Peanut butter, soup, canned beans.  Actually, anything you select will be given out on Monday.”

This month was no exception.   The weather was bitterly cold.  We all wore all the clothes we had and brought blankets.  No amount of extra gloves, sweaters, long johns, blankets worked against the cold.

We covered the 2 doors…just barely.  We had 1 person at each door from 10 ’til 4 all three days.  And, we could never have done it without the help of the customers who kept us all energized by opening their wallets as they ran past on their way to the building.

Prasida sat at one entrance all day every day.  The rest of us spelled each other at the other door.

There was the usual miracle:

This month we had no food for takeouts because the door to the takeout room was frozen shut.  So,  people donated exactly the amount and kind of canned/boxed foods needed for the takeouts.  We didn’t specifically ask for this food.  It just happened that way.

Our hearts were warmed repeatedly by the generosity of the shoppers.

Even though the place was cold beyond description, we feasted on the view of the mountains.

In spite of all the stories on TV and in the papers about jobs, jobs, jobs…we saw a completely different story.  We saw people:

with no coats.

counting their $$$ to be able to get just the items they need.

whose shoes were not warm enough.

who had no hats or gloves.

whose transportation situation was desperate.

whose positive mental attitude  resisted all efforts to beat a person down into the ground.

The energy of those customers will sustain us all on an even keel until our return visit in February.

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Peace and food for all.

Thurman Greco

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