At a recent staff meeting, Amy Miracle asked, “What do you really want for Christmas?” The first thing that came to mind was time with family. But then I started thinking about the constant line of cars coming to the pantry and the increasing number of people who need food and how we (the Broad Street Food Pantry) just can’t do it all. Maybe what I really want for Christmas is an end to the line of cars and for everyone to have enough food in their homes.
Could that happen? The lines have grown again as cost of living increases but income does not – the US Census Bureau reported that the median income in the Midwest decreased 4.7% from 2021 to 2022. The lines have grown longer as pandemic nutrition benefits that helped millions of Americans have enough food have expired. The lines have grown longer as rising food prices have caused more families to rely on food pantries to make ends meet – every month this year, 15-20% of the families who receive food have never been to our pantry before.
Change is never easy but I have hope. Each of us can find a way to make a difference. It can be as easy as volunteering your time or donating food or money. Or you can challenge yourself to reduce food waste or become an advocate for food security. (Watch our Facebook page for info on current issues). Or try one of these ideas.
Let me close with this prayer from Leah, a student in West Virginia:
Dear Lord, help me to follow in your footsteps by helping the poor, the hungry, and the needy. Help me to remember to be thankful for what I have and to not focus on what I don’t have. Help me to be mindful that not everyone has food, money, and a family. Help me to give my time, talent, and treasure to you O’ Lord. There are many ways to stop hunger, help me to find one of those ways. In your name Jesus Christ. Amen.
-Written by Kathy Kelly-Long, Director of the Broad Street Food Pantry
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