Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Couple of Cans Might Make a Difference

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday

The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:9-11

As I dressed for work this morning, the early morning news playing in the background, a news story broke into my scrambled thoughts of things that I needed or wanted to accomplish today.

Thirty million people are now receiving foodstamps, up 14% from last year.

Thirty million people?

What happened to feed the hungry, clothe the naked?

In these tough economic times, we have to rethink everything we do. It is likely that you know people, perhaps your neighbors, your bank teller, your dry cleaner, the school bus driver, even family and friends, who are struggling to make ends meet, even to have a decent meal during the day.

So what can we do, especially if we have our own issues?

Think small but effective.

When you shop, buy a couple of extra cans of vegetables or fruit, an extra small box of rice or pasta, or some other non-perishable item and drop it off at your local food pantry.

If every family in your town or city did this once a week, not just the upper middle class or wealthy families, but every able family, those donations would add up and there would likely be a lot fewer people struggling to eat.

Would the additional dollar or two make that much of a difference?

Hey, there have been times when I've literally walked the aisles of the grocery store like a human adding machine, making sure that when I got to the register, I would have enough money and not be embarrassed by having to put things back. I've counted out my dollars and change to offer up exactly what was needed, after cutting my list to the bare bones and thinking up a 101 new and creative things to do with ground turkey, an innovative spirit for which my oldest son is eternally ungrateful.

But there have also been many more times when the cashier returned a few dollars to me, and it wouldn't have hurt to spend one or two of them on a food bank donation.

Too often when we think of helping, we think in big terms. Hundred of dollars, boxes or overflowing bags of food.

But, as the song Ordinary People says, little becomes much when you place it in the Master's hand.

So, remember this the next time you grocery shop. And don't hold on to your donation until you can walk in with a big box or bulging bag. These food pantries can use that single box or couple of cans now.

Small and consistent is can be more valuable than big and infrequent.

I opened up my email this morning to a message from one of my close friends. She passed on this information about AngelFood Ministries, which offers boxes of food monthly for about half of the value. They operate in over 30 states and may be just the answer for someone counting every penny.

So, please, allow your light to rise in the darkness, and, in addition to your food donations, pass this information on.

No one should go hungry.

Peace & Blessings,

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