News You Can Use
Hunger in our Neighborhood
By Lucinda Hurt, Wesley’s Table Food Pantry Co-coordinator
So this has been on my heart for a few weeks now. Most of you know Jason and I help run the food pantry at church. I feel the need to try to change the conversation around food and who deserves it and who doesn’t, or who deserves good food and who doesn’t. And I’m not looking to stir up some political debate, just give you some food for thought.
I’m a social worker and a Christian, I do not identify as one political party or another. I just try to do what’s right. I admit, being in social services I have seen my share of people cheat the system, not just “families driving Cadillacs and getting $600 in food stamps,” but white older adults trying to hide their money so the State will pay for their care, which by the way cost WAY MORE than the family cheating on $600/month food stamps. Every type of person cheats the system. And yes, even I find myself judging what people buy at times. I admit it. But I walk into the food pantry every week surrounded by goodness, by generosity of our local grocery stores, of our church and community members and it inspires me to change the narrative.
Every week we recover HUNDREDS, YES HUNDREDS, of pounds of food from local stores. Meat, produce, bread etc. You have seen the pictures. Today, we recovered just from Jewel, 18 cases of mostly chicken. That’s approximately 320 pounds of meat. If we don’t pick it up, the stores throw it away. Yes, organic grass fed lamb, bison, chicken, beef, meat of every kind in the garbage! Why are we fighting over who deserves what? Yes, I know my tax dollars pay for someone “who doesn’t work or who cheats the system” to eat a steak. My job is dependent on everyone’s tax dollars, including my own. And I could be in that line any day, especially in our current political climate. If you didn’t know me, would you judge me if I was buying a steak? How do you know that person isn’t treating themselves because this week, maybe they got their first pay check? Maybe it’s not enough to make ends meet. Maybe they are coming through the food pantries, employed by the very stores where we recover food-yes it happens every week! If no one buys the steak, guess where it ends up, in our food pantry and in many other food pantries and we give it away for free. And I give it away happily. No one deserves to be hungry and no one deserves to have to eat bad food that’s anything but food because they can’t afford it.
Jesus did not ask for proof that people were working or honest when he fed the 5000, he just fed them. So every week, Jason, myself, our church and our volunteers will do the same. And we will do the same until God changes our mission, if He ever does. So if you know someone who is struggling, who is hungry or someone who just needs an extra $50 and the end of every month, they are welcome at Wesley United Methodist Church every Sunday at Wesley’s Table Food Pantry from 130-330 (and of course at church service at 9am. We will gladly serve them, with joy, without judgement, and as Jesus would. If we don’t, they go hungry and the food gets thrown away. It’s as simple as that.
If you would like to join us in our mission, let me know we will gladly welcome you!
Webmaster’s note: You can sign up to volunteer for a variety of tasks at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b054daead2ba5f49-volunteer