“What’s for dinner?” A question I hear from any given member of this family on any given day. One I’m expected to answer and I do, though sometimes that answer is “Food”. Of course, if I turn that conversation back on them and ask, “What would you like for dinner this week?” I am almost guaranteed to be answered with, “I don’t know.”
And so it goes, in many households around the world. It’s a common problem. But in other households the conversation is much different. In some households the parent(s) look at their checkbook, fishes for spare change in the sofa, the car, the bottom of mom’s purse and they ask, “HOW are we going to eat this week?”
While I’ve always been aware of the hunger issue in my community, I was made acutely aware of the need these last two weeks, when our Pub Club was asked to help a family who were, at best, struggling.
Like many of us, this family was working to make ends meet when they experienced a sudden, life-changing, event. This event left them grieving and with unexpected costs. It left them scraping to pay the bills, take care of the extra costs this event brought and to have food to eat. Their cupboards, long since bare, their freezer near empty and their hearts broken.
They are not alone in their situation. This is a scene that plays out all over the country, in ALL types of neighborhoods. In fact, many of us have likely had the struggle of making the bills, not quite having enough to buy something at the store, and living until pay day at one point or another. Many of us are in that struggle right now. Many of us are just one life-altering incident away from this situation ourselves.
This family’s situation weighed heavily on my heart, and as I sat down to plan menus, I felt a great shame and embarrassment come over me. Here I was trying to figure out what recipes I wanted to create for my family. I was making a grocery list of all of the things I knew I would be able to afford. I was even planning on posting those menus on here, as I always have, but suddenly that seemed like…bragging. Sure, we were working out how we might help this family get their feet under them again, but there are others out there who are in the same situation. How dare I go on about my meals, when they go hungry?
Of course our group is helping this family. The first step was just talking to others about this family’s need. The result has been overwhelming! For one thing, their pantry and their freezer will be a lot less empty.
And that’s only half of the collection. There are also gift cards and frozen meats! The response has been overwhelming! Tomorrow we will deliver a truckload (well, more than I suspect, but a truckload was what I asked for) to the school where this family’s children attend. The school will see to it that it is delivered from there.
Most joyously of all, one of their most overwhelming situations is also being taken care of via an anonymous donor. This donation will do more to bring about peace for this family than all the food we could possibly give them. And you know what is most remarkable to me? That many of those who are giving, who are helping to meet the need of these people they don’t even know, are giving because they have known or currently know need like this family is going through. A list of resources that this family might be able to use as they get back on their feet is also being compiled for them.
I’m not feeling guilty anymore about having food to spare, because it puts me in a situation to help. Not only can I feed my family, I can help this family eat too. I’m also glad that I sought help for this family from others, because what must have seemed an impossibly heavy burden, has been lifted from them because of another who had personally experienced a similar journey and was in a position to help.
With all of the fighting and arguing going on all around us right now, it is wonderful to see a group of people from all over the country come together to make a difference in the name of LOVE. This opportunity to give and to see others give has strengthened my faith in humankind and also made all the more grateful for the blessings in my life.
I really feel that this family will one day be able to look back on these blessings and do what they can to pay it forward. They know the need. One day they will no longer ask HOW they will eat, but WHAT are we going to eat.
I will return to posting my meals again, just not this week. Oh, I have planned menus, but planning on helping others is what I want to share with you this week. Please, be aware of the situations of the ones in your own back yard and ask yourself what you can do. The joy is in the giving.