I got excited!
A letter from the Capital City Rescue Mission sent me a thank you note! Just 2 weeks ago, they sent me an appeal letter, complete with return envelope.
And, today, I got a letter from Covenant House.
So what, you say.
Well, so that. That’s what!
When I managed the local food pantry here in Woodstock, I sent out appeal letters every year to a few thousand people. I never, ever, saw an appeal letter from another food pantry or soup kitchen or halfway house.
My letters weren’t nearly so nice as the ones I got from the Capital City Rescue Mission or Covenant House.
The pantry appeal letters were hand addressed, printed on a copy machine and hand folded.
Our return address on the envelopes appeared compliments of a volunteer hand-stamping each one individually. A volunteer got the return address stamp at the Catskill Art and Office for less than $25.
Our mailers went out each year reeking of poverty. No professional letterhead. No nice paper. They were just an appeal from a group of people who needed to keep going from day-to-day.
But, they worked. Those letters and the follow-up thank-you notes brought in enough money to meet our needs. We always had enough for gas and sandwiches for the staff on the monthly food pantry stocking day.
When Guy dented the fender in his car in our parking lot, we had the money for repairs.
When we showed up in the food pantry one day to distribute food, there were no working lights in the basement of the church.
I never quite figured out what happened. But this I do know: Richard Spool arrived in just a few minutes and dealt with the problem. We had enough $$$ to get all the parts we needed at Houst.
And, this I do know: The hungry people were fed, the lights were fixed, Richard saved the day, and the account still had a few dollars left.
But, now, back to the story.
Well, today I did. The appeal mailer came in about 2 weeks ago and I quickly sent a check and a copy of my book (for encouragement).
Today I got a thank-you with another self-addressed envelope from the Capital City Rescue Mission. (I think I’ll send another copy of my book for them to share. ) I’m going to send along another check. I’m anxious to see how this plays out.
Meanwhile, if you are a food pantry, soup kitchen, halfway house and need money, you can learn all my secrets starting on page 196 of my book, “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore”. I held nothing back. If you read this information, you’ll have the recipe for fundraising success.
In my heart, I want every pantry, soup kitchen, and halfway house to be rich enough to feed everyone who needs the food. I want the food to be top quality – the best.
And, I want every pantry to have enough $$$ to fix the cars and trucks and the lights in the building.
I learned these secrets at Rowe in Vermont when Kim Kline gave her annual talk.
If you feel you can’t take my word for all this success, get Kim Kline’s books and read them. Or, better yet, attend one of her weekends (when the pandemic is over).
Remember, in our country, there is no excuse for anyone to go hungry.
If you’re reading this post and you don’t work for a pantry or soup kitchen, you don’t have to wait for a mailer. All you have to do is contact a food pantry and make a donation.
You don’t have to send a check. If you want, you can hold a food drive and then haul over all the food you gathered. The important thing is that there are many ways to support those who feed the hungry.
And, lately, there are more and more hungry people than we ever thought possible. Your help and support will be appreciated.
Thank you for your generosity and thank you for reading this article.
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This Thanksgiving I’m grateful for the clothes on my back.
This Thanksgiving I’m grateful for my health.
This Thanksgiving I’m grateful for food which is available to me and to those who rely on the resources and generosity of others for the basic necessities we need to continue our lives.
The available food reminds me that we all live in the abundance of this time and place.
Thanksgiving, for me, is an opportunity to welcome the coming new year: hope and new beginnings arrive in January. The energy of this Thanksgiving gives me strength to gather energy for that prayer.
I’m holding on to the healing, wellness, and regeneration we will all experience as the Pandemic finally moves on.
I’m waiting for the blessings which will come my way as the Pandemic exits and leaves space for the new reality we will experience in its place.
And, I have to admit, I’m excited to experience our new reality. In my heart of hearts, I feel we’re never going back. We’re going forward, instead, to something new and different and better.
I’m grateful to be here, to be connected to all the efforts of the many people working for those who need food and housing. I appreciate the support I continue to receive from people I’ve come to know in this world.
This Thanksgiving I’m grateful for you. I feel a kinship in your readership so that, in my search to spread the word about hunger in our country, I know that I am never alone.
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The food pantry is closed for business and will not open today.
Where will the hungry and homeless go now?
It’s Wednesday, the pantry day in Woodstock. Weekly, the food pantry attracts several hundred hungry and homeless people to the basement of a local church where they experience community, gratitude, healing, and a three-day-supply of shared food. The isolation often felt by hungry and homeless people is softened in the pantry. One thing the soul longs for is connection.
As people travel down their life path to the pantry, they lose things. One of the most soul-strangling downsides of this new-found simplicity is isolation experienced as people become cut off from their community. This experiences always changes reality.
When people no longer fit in, their voices become smaller and smaller and smaller until, finally, all is silent.
The rule is this: As the community for the hungry and homeless diminishes, so diminishes the support system.
All things are connected and intertwined but we have a difficult time remembering this when we are in our most alone circumstances in life. With assistance, we begin to recall our spiritual connections and know we are not along, not forgotten.
But, with the Coronavirus, this is very challenging. A few things are in play here.
First, for those needing to shelter in place, the main question is this: ” Where will I go?” Sofa surfing won’t happen anymore. The cemetery will work as long as it doesn’t snow or rain.
Second, a person without food can think of nothing else: “Where can I get food?”
For the hungry and homeless person in Woodstock, that focus is real because the food pantry closed.
At a time when the people need this food the most, the pantry is closed.
“Where can I get food?”
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Woodstock, New York
This is the story of hunger in America as only the hungry can tell it.
It began as an outreach activity at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock, New York. My job was to pass the pantry key from one congregation to the next each month. Total monthly time commitment: two hours. By the time I moved on to another food pantry eight years later, it had become a calling.
From the very first day, I felt compelled to write down things people said to me in the pantry. Trouble is, I’m not a writer and never have been.
So, the prayers manifested themselves. It was all I could do to just keep up with the words.
Obviously, I needed supervision, guidance, mentoring. As I lived this story and began to write it under the direction of Lillie Dale Cox Thurman and Uralee Thurman Lawrence, the story and the people strengthened me. I found that I wanted things for these people. Mostly, what I wanted for these hungry people was the same thing they wanted. What I wanted, (and what they wanted) really, wasn’t much:
I wanted the hungry to sleep with full stomachs at night.
I wanted them to wake up in a dry space in the morning.
I wanted them to have healthcare.
And I wanted them to have jobs which paid the rent, bought food, and covered their transportation needs.
I wanted them to be a part of the community where they lived.
Finally, I wanted their children to be well educated.
My hope is that you will see this book as a glimpse of what I see…a collection of prayers offered as prize crystals or gems to be shared with the universe.
This book is being edited now. I hope to have it finished by the end of the year!
Please send kind thoughts and support on this project!
Cover art by Michele Garner. Thank you Michele. This cover is perfect!
Thank you for reading this blog post.
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“A Healer’s Handbook” by Thurman Greco is now available on Amazon or at http://www.thurmangreco.com
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.
Thank you also for reading this blog/book.
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Peace and food for all.