“It’s one thing to wish for things to be different in your life, and it’s something else to have the capacity to create the life you want.” – Sister Mohini
Every week more people came to the pantry for food than the week before. This phenomenon had been going on for months…years; ever since the fall of the economy in 2008. Some weeks we’d get ten new families.
And, of course, they all became regular shoppers.
“We’ve got to do something>” I said to Guy Oddo one afternoon.
“Yup” he aid “the parking lot’s dangerous. There’s going to be a wreck out there one of these days.”
Actually, there was. Someone ran into my car about two weeks ago. “Do you have any suggestions?”
“Well, how about we put a volunteer in the parking lot to direct traffic.?”
“What if we limit the shopping time in the pantry?”
“Can we make some of these people park in the town lot down the street?”
So, we did all three things. Guy stood in the parking lot with maps to other parking lots in town. He distributed the maps while directing traffic. And, we further limited the shopping time in the pantry.
They kept coming, the new families. They needed the food.
not 100-degree afternoons,
not a totally packed parking lot,
not insults from pantry deniers stopped them.
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Peace and food for all.
Pantries are secular places, in New York State, anyway. We cannot discriminate against a person/family/household because of religious beliefs.
We “cannot engage in the promotion of a particular religion or political party as part of our feeding programs nor require clients to attend religious or political services or instruction in order to receive food.”
That being said, I read a prayer at the beginning of every board meeting. I felt then, and feel now, that it grounded the board members for the meetings. There was always spoken and unspoken push back from several board members about my pantry activities.
The pantry prayer that I read is repeated below. It is two sections. The top section was written by myself. The second part, beginning with the words “O God of abundance…” I got from Sara Miles’ book “Take This Bread.”
PANTRY BOARD MEETING PRAYER
To the God to whom we all pray –
We ask that our hands, hearts, minds, and souls be illuminated by the light of your compassion and unconditional love.
We ask that this meeting proceed for the highest good of all connected to our pantry:
The customers who shop in the pantry
The people who donate the food
The workers at the food bank
And those who are seeking, but have not yet found, the pantry.
We ask for the protection and continued improvement of the health of our volunteers and shoppers in the pantry.
Please send Bodisaphas and Angels to guide and protect us as we strive to feed the people.
O God of Abundance, you feed us everyday. Rise in us now, make us into your bread, that we may share your gifts with a hungry world, and join in love and healing with all people.