Not only food for the body, though that is important. It is well known that too many in this world go hungry. Yes, even here in one of the major players in the world scene. People are going hungry.
Not just the homeless, those who sit on the sidewalks, those who lean against walls, those who seek shelter from the elements where ever they are able. We all see those, we pass them every time we are out somewhere. Some, hold up signs asking for help. Some ask as you pass by them. Some, watch you pass in silence, long having given up on hope for help. Do you help them? Or do you ignore them, later mouthing off in social networks about how you “know” they will only use that money for some addiction or other. You “know” that they are probably pretending and are living better than you. That there are organizations set up to help, those people. But do you really help support those organizations?
We know, that children are going hungry. Yes, there are programs, but some children fall through the cracks. Some are just above the help level, but still below the ability to pay for lunch. How many times do you hear of food being taken away from a child? How many times have lunch personnel gotten into trouble for feeding a hungry child? In some areas, programs have been created to feed the children during this time of pandemic lock downs and distancing. But how many, have not been able to provide this? How many children, are going hungry?
What of the elderly? What of those who are on a limited income? What of those who are unable to get out of their home and go for groceries? The elderly are less apt to have access to online ordering, many not understanding the process. How many sit hungry, because they have been forgotten?
Let’s go to another extreme, refugee camps. Encampments for those made homeless due to wars, famine, lack of jobs. So the people move, they gather in mass in an area not prepared for their influx. They live in tents or something tossed together to resemble a tent. They sit in the dirt and try to ignore the pains in an empty stomach. We won’t discuss the lack of hygiene, decent clothing, or clean, fresh water. Those are obvious as well, but for this, it is food. Some governments attempt to help, some ignore and some seek to dissolve the encampments. While the situation that brought them there, remains.
Climate change, drought, destruction of farmer’s fields, the inability to tend fields, a thousand and one other reasons that there is a shortage of food, creating hunger..exists.
Do we see? Do we really see and understand? Do we hunger, for comprehension of the expanse of this issue? In truth, unless we seek resolution to the physical hunger, we can’t take care of the spiritual. We can sit in climate controlled churches. Listening to messages of faith, hope, compassion. We can hear the parable of the good Samaritan, and the lessons of caring for the children and widows. Until we actually listen and hear the words, until we take those lessons to heart, until we put action into play and work to feed the physical hunger, the spiritual will have no meaning. Easy words spouted without foundation.
And guess what? It isn’t always about reaching into your pocket and tossing money at the problem. Yes, money helps. Yes, money will buy food. But there are other ways. There are places already putting some into action. Shelters and food kitchens have been around for decades. Yet, they need volunteers to staff them, to help sort donations, to help dish out the food into plates. To clean tables afterward as preparations are made for the next and the next and the next hungry soul.
Many churches or other organizations are handing out supplies, no questions asked, to those in need. This church this day, this one on another, and it continues. I’ve seen the lines stretched for blocks as people seek to supplement what little they have, or in fact, get the only food they will have for that week. These churches and organizations need donations and volunteers.
Meals on Wheels is another organization that has been around a while. They are almost always in need volunteers.
But some of the elderly aren’t signed up for this, some who are still able, would prefer to prepare their own food for reasons of their own, but have nothing to prepare. Is it really so difficult, to give a ride, or even do their shopping, or check on them to see how they are? Is it so difficult, when you prepare a meal, to also prepare a plate to carry over to them?
Many towns have created shared garden spaces. Where there is room, churches have created gardens where the hungry can come to harvest for their table. Those who have gardens that have an abundance, have shared with those in need.
My initial plan, was to write of food for the soul. Writing of desiring a hunger to feed hearts spiritually. Obviously, the plan was altered as I wrote. We are living in a world that is filled with hungry people. Many living in a darkness so in need of light. Stumbling in the shadows seeking answers, though what many find, often false and misleading. Taking them down paths best avoided. Driven by a hunger fueled by physical want. The grumbling and pain of a hunger belly overpowering a hungry spirit. The Bible is filled with verses telling all who will hear and understand that caring for the physical need is important and not to be ignored.
The physical body is temporary, the needs lasting only for a time. The spiritual soul, is eternal. Yet the hungry, are concerned only for the moment. The physically hungry, seeking only what will ease the hunger of the physical pains. We have to answer that need, not through judgemental eyes. Not with spirit of condemnation. Not through arrogance and attitudes of hoped for rewards later. When we reach out, when we act in compassion and with love. Taking care of a physical need, plants a seed for the spiritual. They aren’t forgotten. They are not unworthy. They are in fact, loved.