Monday, September 21, 2009

Make a Difference Monday: Serve your elders

When is the last time you did something nice for an elderly person?? I hope it was recently! It has been far too long for me. I will be baking a pie as soon as I find the recipe for a delicious chocolate pie!

I did some thinking today while explaining to someone what a church pantry was. Who do you think makes use of the church pantry? I never really thought about it before but you can guess who is making use of the pantry. The elderly, the sick, the overwhelmed, the heartbroken, the homeless, the single parent families all benefit from your donation to a food pantry somewhere.

I challenge you to search your heart. My heart used to be hard and stony when it came to giving to the poor and hungry.

Here are actual thoughts I've had:
"They can get out there and work just the same as I can."
"If they managed their money better then they wouldn't be so hungry."
"Why are these people collecting canned goods AGAIN? Canned good drive INDEED!"

When the boyscouts came around collecting canned goods I used that opportunity to ditch the foods I didn't want to eat with the thought of "There! if you are so hungry then you eat BEETS!" (I Hate them.)

I don't tell you this to make you hate me or for you to think I am a horrible person. I tell you this because if your heart is hard and stony then maybe you need to hear that you are not alone. I had friends over the years who were financially challenged and I always was happy to help THEM but when it came to helping other people - forget about it!!

I've mentioned it before but about 7 years ago God let me be REALLY poor for a while. He let me be hungry. I am here to tell you that it is quite humbling having to ask a classmate for help in getting food for dinner because you simply don't have the resources. It's kind of a toss up in my mind if that was worse or if washing my hair with water pouring off the roof was worse.

After that season in my life my heart began to soften and now I have a major soft spot for people who are hungry....and as a Christian I am called to help those in need.

34-36"Then the King will say
to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's
coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's
foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'

37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.' (Matthew 25:34-40, The Message)

That passage helps me to know that I am doing the right thing by sharing with those less fortunate. Especially when you realize that most food pantries whether they are maintained by a church or the government or an individual non-profit entity are all doing great work (and whether or not they want to admit it or acknowledge it - they are doing God's work.)

I used to only give food I didn't personally want when I was giving to canned food drives. Now that I look back upon my stony heart I am sad for all of those people who had to eat beets for thanksgiving because I didn't care enough to donate delicious food to canned food drives! (Not to pick on beets but I really do not like them :) ) Mostly though, I am sad for me and all of the wasted time being bitter.

So who are you feeding by donating to a food pantry?
You may be feeding an 80 year old woman who was once a school teacher and/or sunday school teacher who has no children to help her.

You may be feeding the children of a single mother who has no other family and ran from her abusive husband to save her children's lives.

You may be feeding a family of 5 who have fallen on hard times because both mother and father have been laid off and are unskilled or skilled in an unfortunate area and therefore unable to find jobs.

One thing is certain though, no matter who gets your food - you are feeding someone hungry. You are feeding Jesus.

If you are interested in grabbing some super cheap food to take to your local food bank and are located in or near Nashville - here is a list of some of the foods I was able to donate today:

Success Rice: $2.19 -$1.50 = .69¢ a box
Tuna Helper: $5.00-$2.25 = $2.75 for 3 (92¢ a box)
BC Pouch Potatoes $1.09 - $1.20 = FREE (Actually they only took off $1.09 per pouch)
Starkist tuna pouch $2.39-$1.50 = .89¢ a pouch
BC Frosting $1.67 - $1.50 = .17¢ each
Ragu Pasta Sauce $3.52 - $1.80 = $1.72/2. .86¢ each down from $1.76

Realize that the coupon prices listed above are with tripled coupons. For instance the rice coupon in the first example was .50¢

Triples last through midnight on Tuesday/Wednesday and are at Harris Teeter and Krogers located near Harris Teeters

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