There are way too many hungry people in the world, but all the power to fix it. Here are a few ideas on why we should feed the hungry and how we can start. | The Blissful Poet

Feeding Others: Why We Should Do It & How to Start

Feeding Others: Why We Should To It And How To Start

It does. I honestly can’t really talk about it aloud because for some reason — and I don’t understand why — there’s a tight fist that forms in my chest every time I consider how many people will curl up in bed tonight (if they’re that lucky) & not be able to fall asleep because of the gnawing hunger they feel. And getting up the next morning won’t be any better.

I can’t stand the fact that there are kids cleaning their plates at school because it’s their only chance to eat for the day, because they know it might not be until lunch the next day that they have access to food again.

And for some reason, there’s this part of me that dreads Thanksgiving every year because I know that while my family is enjoying a lavish, delectable meal, someone else is feeding her kids Saltines or standing outside McDonald’s, hoping someone will give him anything at all.

It hurts. I can’t keep quiet about it.

Two years ago, 49 million people in America lived in food-insecure households, meaning that at any given time, that many people didn’t have access to sufficient food. That’s roughly 33 million adults and 15 million children — in our country alone. That’s not even considering more impoverished nations.

How can that even be possible?

The worst part is that we have more than enough food to feed the world two or three times over.

I have to admit, I’m embarrassed about all the times I’ve stared into a nearly-full fridge declaring there was “nothing to eat.” Seriously? I’ll stand in the cereal aisle for ten minutes trying to choose between Lucky Charms and Life, and yet there’s nothing to eat?

It’s the ultimate first world problem.

We have a lot of responsibilities as humans. We have to eat, sleep, bathe, and feed the cat,  just to name a few. We’re responsible for paying bills, brushing our teeth, getting the oil changed in our cars, providing dinner for our families, not punching anyone who irritates us in the face, you get the picture.

And if you’re a follower of Jesus, it’s also your responsibility to care for the oppressed. To feed the hungry. That’s on us

Isaiah 58: 7-11 is a pretty short passage, considering how dense and long the Bible is. But it explains what we need to know about taking care of others and how it benefits us, too.

The Message translation of Isaiah 58: 7-11 says this:

What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave the way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’

If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people’s sins.
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go,
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places–
firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a spring that never runs dry.

I don’t know what you believe. I only know what I believe, and I believe it’s my responsibility to improve the world however I’m equipped to do it. I can’t fix everything — none of us can. I just want to hold my hands up to this particular wound and do my part to stop the hemorrhaging.

But if you think giving is completely selfless, think again. Helping others does come with a reward. If that motivates you more than a sense of deep-seated compassion does, then let it.

This is what you get when you reach out to help (according to the passage in Isaiah):

  • You will make an impact and have influence.
  • You will receive healing.
  • You will be driven/covered/backed-up by God’s glory.
  • You will hear from God and receive his help.
  • You will be able to lift others out of their hurt.
  • Your depression/anxiety/fear (your “night” or “darkness”) will dissipate.
  • You will receive God’s guidance for your life.
  • You will always have enough.
  • You will be strengthened.
  • You will prosper.
  • You will be like “a well-watered garden” (i.e., flourishing, alive, productive).

A literal garden that is well-watered and cared for is healthy, lush, beautiful, eye-catching, fragrant, appealing, peaceful, calm, full of life, and brings joy to people simply by its presence. If we take our responsibility for feeding the hungry seriously, we will hear from God himself and receive his help. He will guide us and help us deal with all of the crap this world offers each day. And when we are faithful to provide for others, he is ALWAYS faithful to provide for us. Am I the only one completely excited and amazed by that?

(And yes, a healthy, well-watered garden will probably make some people sneeze, but that’s just part of life. Not everyone will understand or agree with you, or even like you. You’ll be okay anyway.)

hemingwayquote

Ernest Hemingway said to “write hard and clear about what hurts.” Sometimes that means writing my way through a breakup, a bad day, money worries, or any fear I face. Other times it means writing about what hurts not just me personally, but the world that I’m part of. I complain a lot, but I am blessed far beyond what I am willing to recognize on any given day. So far beyond.

So are you with me?

feedpeoplequote

There are so many organizations ready for your help and support. You can donate money, donate food, organize a food drive, spread the word, cook meals, whatever you want to do. You can start by contacting your local food bank. They usually have great information on how to help. (If you’re in Eastern North Carolina, you can find out more by clicking here.)

Here are a few practical ways to help:

  • Find a good charity to support. Visit Charity Watch to determine which ones are run honestly and efficiently.
  • Eliminate one non-essential expense from your budget per month. I know Netflix is necessary, but maybe a $6 latte every single day is not. Try putting that money toward hunger relief once a month instead.
  • Volunteer at your local food pantry or soup kitchen. If time is an issue, consider automating payments to that charity every month. Even $5 per month is better than nothing.
  • Instead of asking for another new iPhone for Christmas, consider asking friends and relatives to donate to your chosen charity for you. (I know. Now you really hate me.)
  • Visit Free Rice to answer trivia questions and test your vocabulary. Every correct answer you choose is 20 more grains of rice for hungry people.
  • Keep an eye on local and national events such as Stamp Out Hunger and participate whenever you can.
  • Check out Feeding America for more ways to help.

Providing food is the first and most important step. But you can also get creative. How can you use your passion to raise awareness about hunger?

  • Write about it (books, articles, blog posts, brochures, etc.).
  • Sing about it.
  • Make art about it.
  • Talk about it.
  • Get friends together for a food drive, to volunteer at a soup kitchen, or to cook meals for delivery.
  • Invite a food-insecure family to your home for Thanksgiving.
  • Start an organization to help fill whatever void exists in your school or community.

Use your natural gifts and interests to help others in your most effective way.

And you don’t have to feed a nation. If the only thing you can do is make sure one person has enough, then you’ve helped. (It’s like trying to write a book or get in shape. It doesn’t happen in a day. It happens one chapter or workout at a time. Sometimes one word at a time.)

heartbreakquote

Maybe your day-to-day life is full of menial tasks, chores you dread, overwhelming responsibilities, and disappointments. It’s okay; sometimes that’s just life. But I promise that if you focus on something bigger than that, those things won’t make your heart ache so much.

Or maybe they’ll just seem a little bit smaller.

Do you have any other ideas for helping to eliminate hunger in our communities? Let me know in the comments below.

 


Feeding Others: Why We Should Do It and How to Start from TheBlissfulPoet.com

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