I just read the news – over 500,000 people are now homeless in Europe, thanks to current events.
In times like these, I always turn to the music of Tom Pacheco. His songs are prayers, heartfelt prayers of understanding and appeal.
When I went to www.tompacheco.com, I heard a perfect song for our situation! Thank you Tom Pacheco!
He wrote the song below for sisters and brothers everywhere. We all need a little help now and then, especially those of us in war-torn Ukraine.
SHADOW OF A SEAGULL
Heavenly father, spirit of all I can see
Watch over my sister the way you have watched over me.
Give her protection, through any danger she meets.
Though she may stumble, let her always land on her feet.
She’s been unlucky. She’s been betrayed.
This time, please give her a good hand to play.
Make every cloud she cannot outrun
be just a shadow of a seagull in the sun.
I have been worried, knowing she’s out there alone
searching for something inside that is deeper than bone.
How long can somebody suffer so much for so long,
before they believe there’s no reason at all to go on.
Show her, her value, to her own eyes.
Give her the wings that will help her to fly.
Make every cloud she cannot outrun
Be just a shadow of a seagull in the sun.
She has taken far too many falls.
Worked so long and hard just to lose it all.
Every crop she planted did not yield.
This time, let a treasure fill her fields.
Guide her through valleys, clear a few trees from her path.
Spare her the merciless winds and the cold winters wrath.
Lead her to someplace of beauty where healing can start.
Let the moon shine off the rivers and into her heart.
Let her find purpose and let her find peace.
From every prison, may she be released.
Make every cloud she cannot outrun
Be just a shadow of a seagull in the sun.
These lyrics and music are copyrighted by Tom Pacheco.
I urge you to listen to some of Tom’s songs. He is good. His heart goes out to the men and women and children suffering in Europe now.
Tom’s energy and work is just the person to motivate us to bring peace in our hearts for Ukraine.
I know this, first hand. Tom stepped up to the plate in Woodstock to help those in need more than once. Tom only knows to give for the benefit of others.
I wrote a memoir about hunger and Tom is in it twice, I think. He is going to be in my upcoming book “Ketchup Sandwich Chronicles”.
Do you have any of his CD’s? If so, play the music to receive peace.
This book sells on my website, www.thurmangreco.com. When you purchase a copy, I’ll send it to the address you give. And, I’ll forward the proceeds to Tom as a small tribute to the goodness he brings to the planet.
Tom’s energy ripples out everywhere and this is something we can all use in these times.
My T-shirts are also available now. We need more of this energy and the proceeds can ripple out as well.
It’s possible that some of you will not understand this appeal. But, some of you will.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU ARE DOING TO PROMOTE PEACE ON OUR PLANET. EVERY SMALL VIBE COUNTS AND MULTIPLIES THE STRENGTH.
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“Shadow of a Seagull” by Tom Pacheco
Every December, we celebrate Christmas, often with a tree and a Nativity scene. We exchange gifts and worship the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.
We often give generously to others in gratitude for the blessings we have received throughout the year – through the practice of Biblical stewardship.
Food pantries throughout our nation anticipate this generosity. Often, the food received will carry a pantry into February or March. Most people who drop off a bag of groceries have no idea how important this donation is to the shoppers and volunteers in the pantry!
Seeking facts surrounding this annual celebration, I read Bible stories and sermons, essays, and books on the birth of Jesus written by priests, pastors, missionaries, and Bishops.
The story I found is not so much an account of what happened as it is a chronicle about a group of people and an angel on a spiritual journey to fulfill a prophecy.
Over time, and throughout the world, parents consult with Gabriel for strength and guidance concerning challenges they experience during child conception or adoption, and early childhood.
Archangel Gabriel is a patron of communicators, including TV, radio, computer communications, and telephone; even postal workers.
Research showed me this story brings meaning for today. Both personal and political transformation involved every character on this journey.
GABRIEL AND ZECHARIAH
For me, the first scene begins with Elizabeth and her spouse, Zechariah. Elizabeth was an older cousin of Mary living in Judah. They tried for years to have children.
Gabriel first appeared to Zechariah in the temple.
“Elizabeth will give birth to a son. John the Baptist will convert many people to God. He will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to drink wine or fermented drinks. He is filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.”
Zechariah questioned this news: “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
The angel replied: “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God. I have been sent to bring you this good news! You will be silent and not speak until this happens.” (Luke 1:19-20)
Zechariah left the temple, unable to utter a sound.
GABRIEL AND MARY
Mary enters the story as a young girl growing up in a small town, Nazareth. Mary was born into a devout Jewish family in the time of Herrod, about 4 BC.
Having reached puberty, Mary was ready for marriage. Because she was a practicing Jewish girl, her parents Joachim and Anna felt they should find a suitable Jewish man for her.
They settled on Joseph – an older man in the community, a carpenter.
Mary pledged to marry Joseph. Both Joseph and Mary were excited about this.
Before her appointed wedding day, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with a surprise: “You are to conceive and become the mother to the Messiah. You shall name him Jesus.”
Mary responds: “How can this happen? I am a virgin.” (Luke 1:34) This is when Mary discovered her destiny.
Tradition has it that her parents were horrified when Mary told them about Gabriel and the coming Jesus.
Mary disgraced her family because this news brought them shame. Mary and Joseph were engaged but were not yet living together.
Community customs offered Mary, her family, and Joseph three options, all bad:
She could marry Joseph.
Joseph could publicly denounce her and divorce her, possibly result in her stoning.
Finally, he could marry Mary and then quietly divorce her. Legends tell us Joseph preferred this third option.
Mary’s parents were so upset by her news that they sent her to visit Elizabeth, Mary’s older cousin, living in the hill country of Judea.
When Mary arrived at her home, Elizabeth’s baby leaped in her womb, and she explained to Mary:
“Blessed are you among women. And, blessed is the child you will hear!” (Luke 1:42).
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me –
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but he has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.” (Luke 1:46-55).
GABRIEL AND JOSEPH
Legends and historical references indicate that Mary returned home from visiting Elizabeth when she was about six months pregnant.
While Mary traveled home, Gabriel visited Joseph in a dream:
“Joseph, do not be afraid to marry Mary. The child she carries is from the Holy Spirit. You are to name him Jesus. He will save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:20-21)
Joseph brought her into the home he had built, and they lived together. It was clear to Joseph that this was the work of God.
Meanwhile, back at Judah, at the time of the birth of John the Baptist, Zechariah was filled with the holy spirit and spoke again. He voiced a prophecy:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David,
As he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we would be saved from our enemies and from the
hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenent,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, in holiness and
before him all our days.
And, you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
For you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow
to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:67-79)
A short time before Mary’s expected due date, the Roman government decreed a census. Everyone had to return to their hometown to register.
Joseph and Mary packed a donkey and took for Bethlehem. They stayed in an overcrowded inn where Jesus was born. They ended up in the barn with Jesus sleeping in a manger filled with a freshly-made straw bed.
Jesus was vulnerable here; yet powerful, in the barn. He quietly witnessed the event.
A star appeared to lead Magi, teachers, shepherds, and priests to the inn.
The angel Gabriel appeared to them: “Do not be afraid. I bring good news that will cause joy for people. A savior has been born to you. He is the messiah.”
When the star stopped, they found Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. They bowed down and worshiped the baby Jesus.
A multitude of angels joined Gabriel singing,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
And on earth peace to those whom his favor rests!” (Luke 2:14)
Having been warned of danger, they gave gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and then returned to their country by a different route, spreading the word of Jesus as they went.
GABRIEL AND JOSEPH
After they left, Gabriel again appeared to Joseph in a dream:
“Get up. Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you.”
Joseph got up, took Jesus and Mary in the middle of the night, and headed for Egypt, where they stayed until Herrod died. (Matt. 2:13-14).
Tradition has it that Joseph took comfort in a favorite psalm.
Have mercy on me, Lord,
hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your sevant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.
You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord
listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
Because you answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds:
You alone are God.
Teach me your way, Lord,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
Give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart.
I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths,
from the realm of the dead.
Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
ruthless people are trying to kill me –
they have no regard for you.
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and have mercy on me;
Show your strength on behalf of your servant;
save me, because I love you
just as my mother did.
Give me a sign of goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
JOHN THE BAPTIST
John hung out in the desert wilderness as an adult, preaching repentance and baptizing people in the River Jordan. “Repent for the Kingsom of God is at hand.” (Matt. 3.2)
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you.
who will prepare your way”-
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
Prepare the way for the Lord,
Make straight paths for him. (Mark 1:2-3)
John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. (Matt 3:4)
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matt 3:11)
People went to John and listened to his message because they looked for prophecy. They sought signs of redemption and salvation. (Matt. 11:7)
Their journey did not end here. They traveled on, calling from their hearts. Following Christ, they experienced a balance between human and divine.
Jesus was both the son of Mary and the Son of God.
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Scripture quotations were taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version, NIV
Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.
If you have further questions or remarks, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennette Nearhood and Michele Garner provided the artwork of Mary and the Angels.
Thank you for your support throughout the year and for the holidays.
I’m hoping that you can continue to include your “feeding the hungry” activities throughout the coming year! Your donations translate into hot meals, safe shelter, and a reminder to the hungry and unhoused that there are those out there who care.
Your generosity changes lives. Food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters restore people’s lives.
It takes all of us to support those in need.
Do you have a crowded closet? Winter clothing needs include:
foot wear – especially boots
warm gloves and hats
jeans and pants
The items most often resquested: socks
– – – – – – – – –
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THANK YOU FOR CARING!
Do you want to learn more about hunger and homelessness in America? You can find more info in previous posts on this blog.
Think back to the time when you were a child. Life was probably less complicated then. Occasionally your parents or grandparents or maybe a school teacher, or a rabbi, priest, or pastor had talks with you about life.
Your mother, father, grandmother, teacher may have spoken about sex, money, God, doing right from wrong, not stealing. These talks were important.
Well, now you are an adult with your own life. Consciously or unconsciously, these early life talks shaped you and still influence you to this day. The reality is that the person who took the time and effort to make you a successful adult may now be in need of a talk. It’s entirely possible that this older person of influence to you is quietly doing without the food necessary to lead a healthy life.
Why is this happening?
Well, there may simply be more days in the month than money. Many seniors in our country have outlived their pensions, savings, ability to hold down a job. Statistics tell us that one senior in seven doesn’t get enough to eat. SNAP is one successful way to help seniors.
Seniors are eligible for SNAP.
If you are a senior, please apply for these benefits. You worked all your life, paid your taxes, contributed to the economy. It’s time to benefit from all the contributions you made throughout your life.
SNAP helps pay for the food you need to live a healthy life. When you eat healthier food, you can prevent and control some chronic health issues. This will lower your medical bills.
When you get groceries with SNAP, you’ll have money for other things you need.
SNAP is a debit card offering privacy. That way, if you don’t want anyone to know you receive SNAP, they won’t.
When you use SNAP, your community benefits. This is because you bring money into your local economy which helps farmers, grocers, and local businesses.
When you receive SNAP, you are not taking money away from someone else who might need it more. There are enough SNAP dollars for everyone.
Apply for SNAP at your local Department of Social Services office.
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Please share it with your friends or anyone who may benefit from its message.
If the information in this article interested you, please check out more information in “Let’s Live with Thurman Greco”, a YOUTUBE channel with many interviews and much information about alleviating hunger in America.
The website, www.Thurmangreco.com lists books which give more information. You can also purchase T-shirts, aprons, and other items to support alleviating hunger in America.
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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Take This Bread.
Hope you enjoy them!
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 your interest in feeding hungry people. Our need is greater now than ever before.
Woodstock, New York
We live in a country today in which people struggle for food. While hunger reaches historic levels, some are unaware of the plight of their neighbors. Others are not concerned. Food insecurity doesn’t seem relevant. Even pandemic hunger cannot convince everyone.
One child in seven lives in poverty. The family regularly chooses between food and gas, food and medicine, food and rent.
Adults often work more than one job. Until, with the pandemic, many people’s incomes disappear.
Retirees find themselves too old to work, have more month than money, and try to hide their situation from children and grandchildren.
Our elected leaders have not chosen to address this situation with even a fair minimum wage.
Beginning in 2007, I fed hungry people in one food pantry for several years and then started another food pantry in a nearby community needing one.
In 2013, I began to write about hunger. My experiences and lessons learned filled books and a blog.
In 2018, I began a consciousness-raising practice on weekends at the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market in Woodstock, New York.
Time spent feeding the hungry taught me this:
There is no excuse for anyone in our great nation to go hungry.
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A symbol of homelessness, this hat tells our story BEAUTIFULLY. Hopefully you’ll enjoy wearing it as much as others do. It’s only $15. Please go to www.thurmangreco.com or email me at email@example.com to order your very own key hat!
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It’s easier than you think.
Choose the food pantry, homeless shelter, school, church, food bank, or soup kitchen to receive the food you collect.
Contact your recipient, and learn what items the hungry people need. Try to be specific. Can they only accept canned food items or can they use frozen and fresh foods? What about pet food?
If they need pet food or food for homeless people, for example, request those items (with specific food item suggestions) at your drive.
Decide how you want to collect the donated food.
The method I prefer is, of course, the one that worked for me several times. I recommend this method:
Gather some large empty grocery bags in good condition.
Attach a letter to each one saying something like:
“We are having a food drive in this neighborhood. Please fill this bag with food and set it out on your entryway on ………………………….. when it will be picked up between 00:00 and 00:00. Include am and pm to be more specific.
We need the following kinds of food:……………………..
Your donated food will be donated to ……………………………… Thank you for your generosity. If you have any questions, please call…………………………………. Signed…………………………………….”
Set the bags out at every address in the area you selected.
On the appointed date, return to the addresses and pick up the bags of food.
Deliver them to the selected food pantry, homeless shelter, school.
Pat yourself on your back. You did a great job!
My experience with this food drive method is that people respond positively because you give them bags, tell them exactly what food items you need, and return to pick up the food at a specific time on an exact date.
Thank you in advance for all you are doing to feed your neighbors.
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Have a wonderful day!
If you read my last post – “Food Pantry Rules” – you may have thought you were in some time warp. Travel had returned you to about 2010.
Well, not really.
The pandemic changed many details but the bones of a food pantry event are the same.
The volunteers and the people who shop at the pantry are the same.
Everyone comes together looking for groceries but often, they want and need far more.
Food pantry lines get longer every pantry day because people, families, struggle with change they didn’t ask for.
They are rewriting their destiny stories without a road map or instructions.
A number of people in the food pantry, both shoppers and volunteers, didn’t know about food pantries until circumstances set up a situation where they suddenly looked around and realized they were in a car in a long line waiting for food.
There is a name for this category: SITUATIONAL POOR.
A person fits into the situational poor category when she lands in a situation created by an event such as a hurricane, fire, flood, pandemic, or other disaster which destroys the home, car, job.
Food pantries offer much – peace, community, spiritual connection, groceries.
A food pantry in the basement of a church is a cross between a church and a busy pizza place.
A food pantry in a line of cars in a pandemic is reminiscent of the mass food distributions we held periodically in New York State after the collapse of the economy in 2008.
A line of cars filled with people needing food wraps around the block, down the road, and even further.
A whistle blows.
The cars begin to move. A volunteer puts a bag (s) of food in each vehicle.
Everyone wears masks.
There are still food pantries where people show up to a church and receive a bag of groceries.
But, whether the food is distributed to hungry people in cars or to hungry people walking to a building, a food pantry distribution is not a program. It is a community made up of those who gather the food and distribute it, and those who receive it. The process of distributing the food to people creates a change in everyone.
The experience does not heal a person. Nor does it change the story. It does not offer therapy. The experience itself is a conduit for each person’s own spiritual growth and change.
Never once when I was involved in a food pantry did I kid myself into thinking that I was winning the war against hunger. And, I do not kid myself now.
I know this food pantry food distribution experience does not end hunger. Instead, it offers food for several meals. And, that is all.
Ending hunger is another matter altogether.
I do feel, though, that the rules are changing. The pandemic experience is altering the hunger situation dramatically, at least. The pandemic experience is altering the hunger situation permanently.
“How is that?” you ask.
The pandemic has changed how our food is grown and distributed. Food pantries are a link in the food distribution chain. This chain now looks different. The link connections are different.
“How is that?” you ask.
For one thing, the restaurant industry is different.
Food production and distribution is different.
I do not think we know yet just what the fallout is. We have yet to live out the end of this story. We’re living and experiencing the future. For some, it is hard to see the big picture because the changes have not yet come around for each of us to see and experience in our daily lives.
In any event, the Pandemic is not us what we think. Our opinions and preferences don’t count for much here.
One thing is certain, our future is destined to be different from a future without a Pandemic. Another thing is certain for me: We can never return to our past.
We are all destined to experience a new Pandemic future.
Whatever the future brings, we need to keep on feeding the hungry in whatever way that works.
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A food pantry is what it is because of three things:
the economic situation at the moment
the people who shop there.
The people come together looking for groceries but often, they want and need far more.
While the coronavirus pandemic rages, the food pantry lines get longer every pantry day because people, families, deal with change they didn’t ask for.
In short, they are rewriting their destiny stories without a road map or instructions.
A number of the people in the pantry, both shoppers and volunteers, didn’t know about food pantries until circumstances set up a situation where they suddenly looked around a room and realized where they were.
There is a name for their category – SITUATIONAL POOR.
A person fits into the situational poor category when s/he lands in a situation created by an event such as a hurricane, fire, floor, pandemic, or other disaster which destroys the home, car, job.
Pantries offer much – peace, community, spiritual connection, groceries. I always think of a food pantry in the basement of a church as a cross between a church service and a busy pizza place.
A food pantry, and those connected with it, are not a program. They are a community. As volunteers, all we really do is open the door. As all the hungry people walk through the door, they undergo a change somehow.
Each person in a pantry, in whatever capacity, has experienced rejection in some way – too young, too old, too crazy, too sick, too poor, not poor enough.
The food pantry experience does not heal a person, nor does it change the story.
The food pantry experience does not offer therapy.
The food pantry is, instead, a conduit for each person’s own healing.
FOOD PANTRY RULES
Sign your name in the register as you enter the pantry.
Find a place in line.
Do not crowd or block the door to the pantry room.
No more than 2 shoppers are allowed in the pantry at one time.
No more than one new shopper is allowed in the pantry at one time.
Shop for a three-day supply of food for everyone in your household.
Place your selections on the table as you shop.
Respect the restrictions on certain foods.
Finish your shopping in 10 minutes.
Once you begin to bag your groceries, do not continue to shop.
Because the food availability is different each time you shop, it is best to visit the food pantry weekly.
P.S. The rules may be different at the pantry where you shop. Each food pantry is different. The space is different. The times the pantry is open is different. The management is different.
These specific rules were used in the food pantry I managed where the people were many, the space small, and the hours few.
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