Monday, July 26, 2010

In My Own Backyard

The other day I started questioning my thoughts regarding starving children in my own backyard vs. children living in other countries who do not have enough to eat.  I hear what you are saying, starving is starving.  I did agree with this but, I am also embarrassed to say,  I was of the opinion that we need to take care of "our own" first.  How many times have you heard someone say that? Since that time I have come to realize that the children I speak of should not be segregated.  Also,  who exactly are the children that belong to us?  The use of "our own" children is also a bit selfish and egocentric. I still believe we need to help those who live nearby but now I readily accept the perspective that the children living in other countries need our help too and probably more so.

 I live in Cherokee County, Georgia.   We have thousands of children that go without food and this is especially true in the summertime.  During the school year, the school system provides free or reduced lunches to kids who meet a certain criteria, poverty.  When school is not in session,  these same kids may only get one or two meals a day.  Some days it might not be anything.  It is overwhelming to think of all of the children in this area alone that go hungry for whatever reason. Most of the reasons are endlessly sad.  Fortunately,  where I live,  there are things that we, who are more fortunate, can do to help those who are not as fortunate.  We can donate resources and time to organizations like MUST Ministries. MUST provides food and clothing to individuals in need.  They also assist in areas of adult education and employment.  In addition to that, MUST feeds thousands of kids in Cherokee County and nearby Cobb County every summer through their summer lunch program.  (www.mustministries.org)

It takes a great deal of volunteers to pull this off as well as an immense amount of donated food and money.  It is a wonderful program that I do not think a lot of people know about. I do know about this program because I have been one of the many volunteers who have gone to the trailer parks in the summer delivering lunches to kids.  It is a life-changing experience. The children flocked to my van, so eager to get something to eat. They waited for these lunches with the same anticipation my own children have had before they unwrap their birthday gifts.  After I delivered the food and chatted with some of the kids and their parents, I sat in my van and wept for a long time.  My heart ached for those kids and because of my experience I was drawn to helping people, children especially,  on a local level.  What  about the starving children who are not in my backyard, my state, or my country? What resources do the kids in Africa or India have?  They have programs like Feed The Children, but it is not a local organization.  ( www.feedthechildren.org) Those children need our help too.

 Children in need depend on us to help them. Children did not ask to be brought into the world therefore it is our responsibility to help them however we can,  no matter if they are in our own backyard or not.
Peace,
Pamela

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