Hunger Is Not a Disease

Healing 2: Serving the Hungry with Reiki and an Understanding Heart

The food pantry community included massage therapists, Reiki practitioners and other healers in the line.  At one point, I taught Reiki therapy to volunteers and attuned them to Reiki. Laren was among the students in the volunteer class.

Reiki is health care for the soul.  The pantry could definitely use this jewel!

Reiki changes people’s lives and she was no exception.  For most Reiki practitioners, the change is slow, subtle, gentle.  Some aren’t even aware of anything happening.

I knew Laren’s response to Reiki was exceptional in the first fifteen minutes of the Reiki I class.  She took the Reiki 2 class.  She took the Reiki 3 class.  Several months went by and she took one of my advanced classes.

Well, Laren could have taught that class hands down.  Every subject I brought up was one she had experienced.  Laren went on to become a Reiki Master Teacher and now attunes her own students.

Laren dropped by the pantry monthly and offered Reiki to the building.  I felt the energy shift as she invoked the ChoKuRei, the SeiHeKi, and the HonShaZeShoNen in the pantry room and the hallway.

Laren offered Reiki to the building as people rushed around the hallway, bathroom, and the pantry room, cleaning everything after the pantry closed and before we had to leave the building.  No one paid attention to Laren calling in the symbols as she walked around the rooms.

This was energetic healing at work.

She gave particular attention to the corners of the rooms.  Reiki energy transformed the pantry into a holy space, erasing the toxic fear of hunger so prevalent in the hallway and the pantry room.

The floors, walls, corners, became holy.

Fear of hunger wasn’t the only issue.  Fear of job loss,  illness, and fear for the children were common in the pantry.  Fear was often palpable.

Reiki therapy is a spiritual wand touching those around us who need blessings and healing.

Reiki practitioners know that when the time is right, Reiki takes on a life of its own, offering healing where it’s needed, using energy which passes through the practitioner’s hands.

Using Reiki, we align ourselves with our divine order to extend blessings.

When I am in the grocery line, or the traffic line, or on a sidewalk, or on a massage table, the space becomes holy when I invite Reiki in.

Reiki heals through chakra points located throughout the body.  In a Reiki session, the recipient is reminded who she is.  This self-awareness opens the chakra portals for the person to become who she can be.

The future blends with the present and the past at this moment.  Possibilities open.  This is a miraculous process.

Reiki is a holy ritual.  It’s hard to get too much of this divine energy because Reiki is all-loving and all-giving.  Reiki wisdom guides the practitioner’s hands during a session to the points of divine connection on the body.  Reiki shows us the meaning of life and the teachings understand the sacredness of this process.

Reiki is a jewel not bound by earthly things.

No wonder there are no contraindications to Reiki therapy.

Reiki is a light touch applied to a clothed body.  When offering Reiki therapy, I  often began a session applying this light touch to the crown of my client’s head.

After three or four minutes, I moved my hands to the occipital ridge at the base of the skull.

There, I placed one hand on the base of the skull and the other hand on the back of the neck.  After a few short minutes, I placed my hands on the person’s body, following the lines of the person’s chakras along the spine.

As I placed my hands on the recipient, healing energy traveled up and down the chakras, beginning at the head and ending on the feet.  I felt warmth, tingling.

Sometimes I saw images and color while the recipient lay in a sleeplike state on a healing table.  Whether or not the word “sleeping” was correct, the person was usually not conscious.

Chakras are the communication system of the body.  Chakras share information with one another as they physically, intuitively, energetically, and psychically communicate with one another.

They also talk with chakras in other bodies as well.  There is no limit to how chakras communicate.

The pantry visits themselves were healing because the pantry experience healed.  When shoppers and volunteers healed from the experience, they saw things in new ways.

When this healing happened, it made the person new.

In this new inner life and outer life, the person moved forward in ways impossible before.

Pantry volunteers served shoppers, volunteers, hungry people.

Distributing groceries all those afternoons in the pantry brought forgiveness and healing.

Fresh vegetables, eggs, and Bread Alone bread offered a healing experience with abundance.  As volunteers fed the shoppers, they helped both themselves and each other.  Did you want to be healed?  Healing and feeding were connected.

The pantry was a safe haven for everyone, both volunteers and shoppers.  Healing began and continued as people shared food.  This safe haven was necessary because the unspoken word here was the feeling that we were the wrong people.

Unspoken here was the feeling that one’s status in Woodstock could make things right.  Without the right status, a person would never be acceptable.

Health issues pointed to a need to cope with spiritual challenges.  Healing was on the agenda and getting well was something everyone sought.

In the end, healing was not easy.  Before the trip was over and a person felt healed, she experienced many things:  acceptance, belief, change, connection, forgiveness, laughter, persistence, and transcendence.

For me, this was amazing.  How can a person in a pantry line experience connection?  How can a person in a pantry forgive others?  The path is simply too rocky.

For some, it was giving up anger, drugs, or a lifestyle that changed when the house was in foreclosure.

Giving and receiving food brought everyone a little peace.

The whole experience was hard for people in the line who were unemployed, broken down psyhologically, economically, socially, spiritually, and physically,

As I watched healing in action, I saw patterns.  First came forgiveness which made the healing easier.  For sure, healing was harder when a person held a grudge.

The pantry visits themselves were healing.  The pantry experience healed.  When shoppers and volunteers healed from the experience, they saw things in new ways.  This healing, made the person new.

In this new inner life and outer life the person moved forward in ways impossible before.

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Thurman Greco

 

After 30 Years of Service, Good Neighbor Food Pantry Closes June 1.

After feeding hungry people in Woodstock for over 30 years, volunteers at the Good Neighbor Food pantry were asked to leave the pantry’s space at the Woodstock Reformed Church by June 1, when the pantry will close..

This didn’t happen because there were no hungry people to use the pantry.  This pantry has been one of the largest in the area since it expanded in the economic downfall of 2008.  Before that time, shoppers were mostly a couple dozen single homeless men and Woodstock colorful characters.

With the economic downfall, patronage escalated from 25 people per week to hundreds.  Hungry people filled the halls.  The line filed out the door into the parking lot.

Before the economic downfall, people came in and got one or two each of four basic items:  cereal, tuna fish, peanut butter, soup.  About the time that the crowds began to shop for food, the food bank changed the system  to include fresh produce and a three-day-supply of food for every person in the household.

People left the pantry with bags of food:  eggs, vegetables, fruit, yogurt, items of dignity.

Church members and townspeople never really accepted these changes.

People resented the changes they didn’t ask for.  This was understandable.  No one likes change, especially uninvited change.

They liked feeling only a few people in town needed food.

They liked thinking the pantry was “theirs” when it really belonged to the Food Bank.   After all, that’s where the food came from.  That’s where volunteer  training came from.    That’s where food and rent grants originated.

With the changes in food served came training classes at the Food Bank.  Funds became available to assist pantries with rent, and utilities.  At that time, the volunteer coordinator applied for and received a $1,000 rent grant to pay the church annually.

The $1,000 rent grant was new for the Woodstock Reformed Church.  No food pantry volunteers had  paid  rent money to help the membership.

At the time, the intention was to increase the amount annually.  $8,000 was a long range goal.

$8,000 was not out of line if the refrigerators and freezers were moved from the unpainted barn in the parking lot to the church basement.

A nationally known fundraising guru, Kim Kline, taught interested nonprofit volunteers how to raise money.  She based her success on the premise that givers give.  She told everyone in the class exactly what to do.

After this class, pantry volunteers in Woodstock did exactly as she instructed.

These fundraising efforts at the pantry made the Good Neighbor Food Pantry a success story.  Secrets of successful fundraising are outlined in detail on pages 196 and 197 of the book “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore.”

The Good Neighbor Food Pantry need not close.  There is time to raise the money needed.  There are probably still volunteers in this pantry who remember these skills taught by Kim Kline.

There is still time to feed the many hungry people who need this food.  The need is greater now than it has ever been.

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Thank you for reading this blog post.  Please forward it to your preferred social media network.  Share it with your friends.

Thank you for your interest in feeding hungry people.  Our need is greater now than ever before.

Thurman Greco

Woodstock, New York

 

 

 

Do These 3 Things After Your Food Drive.

 

 

Congratulations!  You had a food drive!

Your work isn’t done yet.   Now is a good time to  think about your next food drive.  It will be easier and more fun than the last one because you know more about your tasks!

When you organize for the next food drive, you’ll get to see how your last one worked.

Step 1

Celebrate your goal.  Did you have anyone helping you?

This is a good time to go out for a pizza or ice cream.  Enjoy what you did and discuss how you  helped your community as well as yourselves!

Pat yourself on your back.

Step 2

A few weeks after your food drive, check in with the food pantry or other group who received all your collections.

Were the foods you collected useful?

Were you able to get enough of one item for the group to have a surplus?

What foods would have been appreciated which were not collected?

How can you improve your future food drives?

Step 3

Now is a good time to plan your next food drive!

design a fact sheet that lists some foods that are needed.  (The agency you

donated the food to may already have one you can use).

Write and send out a press release about your food drive and plans for the next one.

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Share this article with a friend.

Thurman Greco

Woodstock, New York

https://hungerisnotadisease.com

 

 

 

Paul, Duct Tape, and Homelessness

Paul has been on my mind all week.

One of my oldest friends,  I  knew him and worked with him when I worked and lived in Virginia – just outside Washington D.C.

Back then, we had Kelly Girls.   Paul was my very best Kelly Girl.  I could send him anywhere – well, not to the male chauvinist lawyer  who would only pay for a cute legal secretary.  But all the others loved his work.

He showed up on time for his assignments and he turned out a perfect work product.  He was a bargain.  Whatever he did, he made the client feel that Paul gave more than the money’s worth for every job done.

Everyone knew  Paul was homeless.  Nobody cared.  He was the best typist out there.  (This was before computers, you understand.)  A quality work product counts for a lot when it comes time to pay the bill, after all.

So why have I been thinking about Paul all week?  It was the Duct Tape that did it.  My watch band broke and I need the watch.  I drove over to Genter’s Jewelry Store in Saugerties and discovered a “for rent” sign where the “open” sign used to be.  Mr. Genter always fixed everything .  He didn’t care whether it was a watch band, a clock, a necklace.

He also sold silver and gold chains at bargain prices.  And, he custom designed a coin for me.  His work was exacting.  Genter’s  was my go-to destination for all things jewelry.

Genter’s is a statistic of the Coronavirus.   With Mr. Genter gone, what was I going to do?   I physically grieved when I saw the sign in the window.

I went straight for the Duct Tape.  I now wear a watch held together with Duct Tape.  I’m getting used to it, actually.  My sense of urgency  diminishes a little more each day.

I’m sure I’ll get along just fine with the Duct Tape.  Paul Did.

Duct Tape adorned most of Paul’s clothes and anything else he used.  Duct Tape held Paul’s shoes together.  Duct Tape held the watch on Paul’s arm.  Duct tape even kept Paul’s eyeglasses going.  Finally, Duct Tape held Paul’s winter coat together.

So, following in Paul’s example, Duct Tape will keep my fitness watch going.

I rather like my new Duct Tape look.  And, I like remembering Paul.  He always made me smile.  And, smiles these days are hard to come by.

Thanks Paul!  You set a good example.  This Duct Tape will work until I can find Mr. Genter, just as Duct Tape held your shoes together until you could find a newer used pair  of shoes.

And, thank you for reading this article.  Please forward it to your preferred social media network.

Thurman Greco

Woodstock, New York

PS:  You can order one or more of the fancy T-shirts pictured in this post today at :

www.thurmangreco.com.

I also wrote about Paul in “No Fixed Address.”

 

Is This Life Now?

GNP43
The New York Times – Friday, February 27, 2015 – “Food Waste Grows with the Middle Class” – page A24
A recent New York Times Editorial highlighted the “massive food waste” around the world. I urge you to read it. It was extremely well written, as are all of the NYT editorials.
Containing all the right buzz words:
landfills,
hunger,
waste disposal,
global warming threat,
it just didn’t go far enough.

FOOD PANTRIES FEED THEIR CLIENTS SURPLUS FOOD INTERCEPTED ON ITS WAY TO THE LANDFILL. They simply no longer have the $$$ for food at the supermarket or they live in food deserts (neighborhoods where there are no grocery stores or supermarkets.)

Is this life now? Yes, this is life in 21st century America. This is not emergency food. This is the new way we live in the good old U S of A.

PEOPLE ARE OFTEN ASHAMED TO SHOP IN PANTRIES. They don’t want to be seen bringing pantry food home. They don’t want to explain to their friends, neighbors, relatives about their inability to buy food at the supermarket. Well, now they can move on past the shame and embarrassment. With this New York Times editorial, we can all see that hungry people lacking $$$ to purchase food at a grocery store are now a part of the solution instead of the problem.

Hungry people shopping at food pantries help fight food waste. Food pantry shoppers can now realize they are helping reduce global warming emissions.

People shopping at pantries are in a financial bind where they are forced to make trade-offs. They pay rent when they don’t have enough food to eat. They “heat or eat”.

Often, they make health care trade-offs. People unable to seek needed medical care are unable to make good choices. Eventually they’ll be forced to deal with the medical situation and the longer they wait, the more expensive the situation becomes. The healthcare $$$ has been diverted to rent or transportation to get to work.

Articles like the New York Times editorial make it difficult for citizens in our country to completely ignore the fact that more and more people are going without food in our great nation because they simply don’t have the $$$ to buy it. We can no longer deny that hunger exists and it is becoming more and more difficult to be indifferent about it.

So, now, with this editorial, those of us who are hungry and ashamed of the situation we are caught in can feel better about ourselves. We can now shop at the pantry and eat at the soup kitchen knowing that we are, in spite of the low wages we work for, doing our part for a healthy planet. We are fighting global warming. We are our tax dollars at work.

If you read this blog and feel you are among those who don’t have enough $$$ for food, now is a good time to begin to shop at a pantry for the food you need for your household.
There is no better time than now for you to not only support your community but also your planet.
See you at the pantry!

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Peace and food for all.
Thurman Greco