My kids and I volunteer at a church-based community pantry nearly every week, and have for several years. The pantry has been feeding the needy in the community since 1980, and it is supported solely by charitable donation (i.e. they receive no governmental assistance for feeding the needy).
My volunteer role there started out as my excuse to see my Mom every week, since we live on opposite sides of the Mighty Mississippi River, and Mom volunteers there. In the beginning, I just did whatever Mom told me to; whether sorting cans, bagging bread, carrying bags for pantry patrons… Whatever. If Mom said do it, I did it.
While I still do whatever Mom tells me to do, for a little over a year now, I’ve also held the responsibility of ordering food from the St. Louis Area Foodbank, which is how our pantry stocks the shelves that we give to the needy from.
Our tiny pantry, supported by a church of less than a hundred members, fed thousands last year. In the Missouri/Illinois bi-state region alone, one in eight people are in need of food assistance. One in eight. Over the course of the last year, the need demonstrated by the community that we serve has exploded. Pastor Wilfong recently mentioned that in his nearly 32 years of heading the pantry, he has never seen greater need than what we see now.
Over 16 million children under the age of eighteen (3+ Million under the age of five), in America, are unable to consistently access adequate amounts of nutritious food necessary to lead a healthy life.
Sixteen. Million. Children.
Even though I volunteer nearly every week, when I see that number, I can’t help but think, “What can I do? The need is so great. How can I possibly make a difference?” The thought of one of my own children going hungry breaks my heart. I can’t imagine how the parents who must face that reality must feel.
You know the starfish story, right?
No? Here it is…
The Starfish Story adapted (original by Loren Eisley)
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”
The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”
“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…
“I made a difference for that one.”
This month I am teaming up with Abbott Nutrition for a Simple Service Project by creating a snack pack filled with nutritious products including Pediasure.
Later this week I will tell you more about the snack pack I create, as well as about the special little girl that will receive it. In the meantime, I want to challenge you to learn more about how you can get involved in giving back with Champions for Kids.
Mother Theresa once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
There are many ways you can help…
- Donate money (either to a pantry or foodbank in your area, or to a nationwide program that feeds the needy, such as http://feedingamerica.org/)
- Donate food (host a can drive, a virtual can drive, or Pack a Snack with Abbott Nutrition)
- Donate time (whether a couple hours or an entire day, your help is needed in combatting hunger)
Will you join me? Will you feed just one?
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All opinions are my own.