Today is World Food Day. There are so many millions of people around the world who are hungry right now - famine, wars, drought, crop failure, and closer to home, the cost. Oh, the spiralling cost. It scares me rigid at times, and I am sensible. I plan ahead - I have food. I grow my own, I keep a supply of basics. We will not starve. But then what if you suddenly lose your job? Or, as winter approaches, what if you have to choose between heating and food, given the sky-rocketing energy costs and the government's slashing of the heating allowance for the elderly? Or if you are homeless?
Thousands of people are dying of hunger while I write this. The stats are there to see. Stop the Hunger has appalling data. Just go and have a look. But what worries me is that there may be people we know in need. People sitting next to us in church. Neighbours. Friends. People who have a little too much pride, and pretend all is well, while they hide desperate need. The stiff upper lip is a well known trait of the British in particular. I am an expert at this. I speak from long experience.
So I stood up in church today and talked about how there is no place for pride within the church's four walls. How we need to learn to be real and open and admit need, ask for help, without fear of judgement. We have started a food collection for the homeless centre in the nearby town, but I wanted people within the church to know that there was no disgrace in admitting a personal need. To know that there were bags in the overflowing boxes of donations (it has been amazing to see how wonderfully people have responded to the appeal for food) which can be filled with food they may need. That they were very welcome to take it.
Every one of us is affected by the current economic woes of the world. Every single one. Many may not have anywhere near enough. Some have lost jobs. Some cannot find new jobs. Retirement plans have collapsed. All have to find ways to make a restricted budget stretch in unbelievable ways. Gone are the days of plenty. Unless one happens to win the lotto, and then, one hopes one would be sharing with everyone, of course. Young people are living back at home because of the lack of work opportunities. Salaries going down while costs shoot up is a recipe for disaster for families.
We are rich. Compared to 99% of the global population, aren't we? Rich beyond measure. We are commanded (not an optional extra) to love our neighbours. In the same way as we love ourselves. This is the second most important commandment, according to the Son of God. I believe Him. To treat them just as we treat ourselves. That means practical help too. It means knowing. Noticing. Being aware. Doing things. Meeting needs. Sharing. Caring. Helping. Reaching out. Opening our eyes.No matter how little we may have. So when we go shopping, instead of putting "tin for the food bank" at the bottom of the shopping list, how about putting it at the top? Pop that in the trolley (cart) FIRST. Make it a priority.
It could be the difference between life and death for someone.
So here at RCR Central, Mother is crocheting blankets for the homeless with donations of wool collected from friends. She is nearly 86, but she will make sure some of them stay warm. Granny is beavering away at the rate of one blanket every 7-10 days. She is amazing.
Donating food, clothes, blankets..... all are good and help so much. But right now, it is the suffering in silence that really bothers me. Maybe if we all keep watch, we can make a real difference???
No memory post today, unless I am stuck by the muse later. This is much more important. Today is what matters. Not yesterday.