As I entered the church, I noticed a huge white altar with
these yellow bottles around the top. Looking more closely, I realized they were
bottles and bottles of yellow vegetable oil. My first though was what an interesting way to
decorate an altar. Then… “Wow. Using money that would be used for flowers to
buy food for people in need. That’s really justice!” Later I learned that the
parishioners were decorating the altar by bringing different food items each
week. By Christmas, the altar would be
filled with food and boxes prepared for the families who use the soup kitchen
that the parish also runs. It was a
beautiful witness to the mission and charism of the Vincentians and a sad
commentary that in the U.S. there are people without enough to eat.
We have a love/hate relationship with food in our
country. We eat too much and yet are
malnourished. We are so busy that we
have to depend on processed food or fast food restaurants rather that eat fresh
meals made from scratch. While we produce enough food to feed the world, there
are millions of children who go to bed hungry every night. We throw out about 1/3 of the food produced
for human consumption or about 38 million tons each year.
Does the United States have a responsibility to make sure people
in the U.S. and the world, aren’t hungry?
I don’t know …. but as the richest nation, one blessed with prosperity,
we certainly could. When our government threatens
to defund programs like WIC, SNAP, Food for Peace, USAID that feed people, and
we don’t try to stop this, are we forgetting the bounty that we are blessed
with or do we see only scarcity and want to protect our portion?
I love thanksgiving. It’s my all-time favorite meal…filled
with memories of my parents and family gatherings. But there are others who
because of poverty, famine, or war will have nothing to eat. Let us take a minute to recognize our
blessings and resolve to work to eliminate hunger in our world.