American Hunger

The awards ceremony was in the high school library and even though it was against library policy, the hosts had platters of delicious cookies and cider. As a volunteer grant writer for a K-12 school, I was there to collect funds to help our small school.

Stacks of white envelopes were on a table in front and as God’s providence would have it, the award for my organization was announced first. I rose and went to shake hands with the chairman of the board, who was bestowing thousands of dollars to all the non-profit organizations in the large room.

I shared briefly about the impact this money would have for needy students. Sitting down, I then listened to the words of acceptance for fifty other small non-profits in our county. But there was one issue that we all were dealing with—and it wasn’t just poverty, abuse, or homelessness. It was hunger.

Of the $250,000 given away that day—money that needed to be stretched over lean budgets for all of the coming year, much of it would be spent on food for the hungry.

We have a problem, America. In a land of plenty, hunger should not be a source of pain. But it is. In my home state of Washington, apples were left un-harvested because apple sales wouldn't cover the cost of picking. I thought of those apples—delicious and nutritious going to waste—while grant money that could go for coats, counseling, or classes had to buy food.

Grant money can help give kids a better education, but hunger stifles the best plans we could ever have. Now that the holidays are over, the bell-ringers and red buckets aren't in front of our grocery stores, but the hunger issue remains. Giving hurting people hope begins with first alleviating their hunger. But Government hasn't been able to solve it. 

For too long we thought we needed big solutions, big programs, and more food stamps. But the answer is small. Local people knowing those who need help, and offering it. Churches, neighbors helping neighbors, and local agencies that understand their own communities. We can all be part of the small answer, but together it will make a big difference.

The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.  Proverbs 22:9

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