“…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35)
Perhaps, you are one of the many who fast during lent. It is your choice to fast but have you thought about the people who do not eat because they have no food or money to buy food? Everyday on my ride to work, I see a billboard that reads “1-5 children face hunger” in the United States.
This is a subject dear to my heart. As a child, I was hungry daily. My brother and I had one meal a day at home. Though we were eligible for free lunch at school, I let my pride get in the way and didn’t use the coupon for the free lunch. Sure, we received food stamps, but many households rely on this assistance as their only source to feed themselves and their dependents.
When I was a child, food pantries were uncommon. Now, there are several in our area. Hunger is on the rise, and in our township, more than 30 percent of the residents needed to drive 30 minutes to the nearest food pantry.
[bctt tweet=”Everyday I see a billboard that reads “1-5 children face hunger” in the U.S.”]
That’s why my son and I started a food pantry at our church. Regrettably, it grew from serving five families to more than 30. I say regrettably because this is a ministry I do not want to see grow.
These 30 families average three or more people in a household. We serve more than 100 people each month. Senior citizens make up almost half of those we serve. And most of our families have cats or dogs, so we try to provide pet food as well.
We started with donations from our congregation and two other local churches. Now, we receive donations from the community—from people who might see our sign at the post office or local supermarket. Local organizations provide hams and turkeys during the holidays.
Our Women of the ELCA group supports us with time and donations. The amount of support we receive from the community is beyond anything I could have imagined.
With all the support we receive, we still needed more food to provide to our neighbors. Thanks to the assistance of Second Harvest Food Bank in Allentown, Penn., we now offer both perishable and non-perishable items.
[bctt tweet=”No one should have to go to bed hungry.”]
The fact that we have food pantries in the area shows that hunger is a growing concern in America. The pantries should serve as a temporary solution, not a monthly necessity.
No one should have to go to bed hungry. Please pray for the pantries, food banks and volunteers that we continue to follow the words in Matthew 25:35 “for I was hungry and you gave me food.”
Anissa Canova, Gouldsboro, Penn., serves on the churchwide executive board. She is a member of Grace Lutheran Church.
Photo: Healthy food choices, Salvation Army USA West, used with permission, Creative Commons