BBC news ran a story about a mother and her two children living in Iowa on a total unearned income of $1,480 (unemployment plus food stamps). The mother could not find a way to keep her house, so now the three of them live in a motel room. Imagine the limitations this family faces in terms of food. There is no place to cook, so they must buy expensive packaged foods. Because the motel room does not even have a fridge, they family has to buy food in individual portions to consume immediately – also costly. This is a recipe for disaster.
The first thought that came to mind was community kitchens. But when I think of the logistics of that – people stealing food, cost of facilities, cleaning issues, transportation – the idea seems unrealistic. The government really cannot help us out on this one. Aid needs to come from our own community. As much as we try to push it on others or a large entity, we really should be the ones stepping in to assist those in need. Does the motel this family lives in have a little spot in a fridge somewhere for their food? Can a church accomodate them? What about the neighbors?
The hard part is finding the initiative to reach out to struggling people – or even finding them in the first place. When we are going through hard times we tend to hide in the shadows, maybe out of fear rejection or simply because we are too preoccupied to get involved in the community. Most people want to help solve the world’s problems, but it takes a lot of time and energy to find ways to help on a more personal level than simply donating money to charity. Donating money is great – it is any organization’s fuel – but when we do not see the fruit of our donations it makes us less inclined to give. How many Christians actually tithe? Two percent? There is no easy solution to matching those needing help to those wanting to give it. America has enough resources to fix the hunger problem, but it is a matter of logistics.
Most of my efforts and my projects concern these logistics. I have now lived in Fayetteville for two months, and I am just now finding the right contacts to start my projects. A couple specific ones include providing free cooking classes to the less-fortunate and teaching people about produce at the local farmer’s market (passing out samples and recipes). I will be posting all of my updates on these projects here for you to follow and possibly copy in your own community.