Hunger and poverty are very real, and they exist in your backyard. We tend to have blinders on when these topics come up, a “that only happens in big cities, not in my town” sort of mentality. The truth is much scarier. You cannot drive very far in any city or town without seeing these problems with your own eyes. My challenge to you is two-fold; first you must actually “see” the problem. Acknowledge that it is real and exists where you live. Second, DO SOMETHING! You might think that you’re only one person and you can’t make a difference. You are WRONG! Everyone can make a difference, regardless of age or economic status. If you can’t give food or money or clothing, you can still make a difference simply by acknowledging the people that are enduring hunger, poverty or homelessness. Treating these folks as human beings can have a huge impact on them. I have been volunteering with the middle school youth at my church for eight or nine years and one of our projects is to collect items and then go to a local park in our city where our homeless friends congregate and distribute those items. Along the way we engage with them on a personal level through conversations; sometimes they just need someone to listen to them. I have witnessed the most amazing connections happen in these settings! Sometimes the teachable moments just happen: on one trip as we were distributing items someone asked me where I worked. I turned to see one of our homeless friends smiling and asking me again. I told her the names of places I had worked. Turns out she had been a coworker of mine some 18 years ago! Imagine our shock at reconnecting in such a way! You can tell people that homelessness can happen to anyone, but when you see it firsthand like that it really drives the point home.
I have no illusions that one email can change the course of hunger, poverty and homelessness in the world; but if we can make it a little better for just one person then I would count that as a victory!
Never take tomorrow for granted; we are guaranteed nothing in this world!