“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”– Isaiah 58:10 (ESV)
Yesterday I had the opportunity to go with our youth group to pack food for “Meals From the Heart”. This organization packages nutritious rice, soy nuggets, dried veggies, etc… in a “rice dinner” format and distributes them to local food shelves. As we arrived, washed our hands and put on hair nets, we were led into a warehouse area with large pallets of rice and soy, tables set up with scales, sealers, bags, and ingredients. Once our group got the hang of the process, we fell into a rhythm to churning out rice dinners while talking, laughing, and jamming to radio tunes. Over 6,000 dinners were packaged and would be soon going to the local food shelves.
I have packaged food for several of these types of organizations over the years. I remember one place where the food was going directly to starving children in Haiti. I remember another where food like vegetables, breads, and cereal were packaged to go to local food shelves. It always astounds me that hunger issues are such a problem, and even more so in a developed country like the United States. Even in my corner of the world, “food instability” exists, where families may not know where their next dinner is coming from. That blows my mind. It shows me how much I have and how much I take food for granted. I go to the grocery store, fill my cart up with whatever I need and many things I don’t (yes, I have teenagers) without batting an eye. But there are families just like mine who are struggling to buy a bag of groceries or pay their rent. This humbles me and also makes me realize I have to share better with those around me. The fact I can pull a cart out of the long line of metal rickety carts and fill it with food for my family makes me realize that food is a luxury, and can be out of reach for many.
Do you take food for granted? I know I do. But, sometimes like yesterday, I realize that God is showing me a new way to think, and His Spirit enters my heart to make me think and wrestle with these things I experience. It makes me more mindful of what I have and what I can share, and gives me empathy for others.
I believe our 6,000 meals we packed will help families fight hunger. And I want to figure out what else I can do to help. I invite you to consider these things in this post and see how God may want to have you reach out to others as well. We CAN make a difference, but it takes a change of heart and priorities, which is not easy. But with God, nothing is impossible!
Prayer–“Gracious God, I pray for a new attitude—one that has empathy for the people around me who are struggling with hunger issues. I am not always mindful of this, and I ask your Spirit to help me seek ways to help others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”