I drive home from work through a section of East Baltimore; it is not the worst part of the city, but it is close. As I turned onto North Avenue, I was confronted with a huge traffic jam. In 6 years, I have never seen more than 2 or 3 cars at that corner. Today there were hundreds. And hundreds of people standing in a line snaking around the Diakon Center. I was annoyed. I had to change lanes quickly, and all these people were lining up for what? a sale? a concert? a church event?
Nope. I flushed red as I realized what it was. Those hundreds of people I had just been pissed off at, those folks were lined up for food. It was a Thanksgiving food donation pickup. They were all hoping to get a turkey, some canned beans, instant potatoes.
On the news this evening, I saw a story about that line. Ray Lewis has a foundation that runs the food giveaway every year. This year demand was much much larger than usual. And he was there, handing out food, giving hugs, a few words of encouragement. The news then did a piece on other food banks across the country. The need is huge, but the pantries are nearly bare. A farmer in the Midwest opened up his farm to anyone who wanted to come and pick over what was left in the fields. He expected a thousand people. What he got was 40,000 people willing to spend all day digging in his fields for some potatoes, some carrots, a few onions. He hoped his idea would catch on with other farmers. I hope so too.
This time of year is hard on people. If you can spare some cash, some cans of food from your pantry, a few hours of your time at a foodbank or soup kitchen, whatever you can do, please help. It can be so little to one person, and so very much to someone else. Our office is doing a food drive, and we have adopted a single mom with six kids for Christmas. Our son's school will do a holiday food drive as well. Our local theater is doing a showing of It's a Wonderful Life with admission being a donation of food for our local food pantry. Our local grocery store has $1, $3 abd $5 food donation coupons at the register; you can just add a buck or two to your grocery tab to help buy food for others.
I all too often focus on what I haven't got. Today I got a little reminder that I have EVERYTHING. 1 in 8 people in America, 1 in 8, is going hungry today. I am not one of them. But I know I easily could be, and I know I can help those who are.