A Plentiful Table
In this season of harvest celebrations, giving thanks, and gearing up for the holidays, I feel that it is incredibly important to take steps to protect those who are not enjoying a time of plenty.
With more and more programs being cut, and hard times grinding away at many families, despite what the stock market is doing (which, after all, has little to do with average folks), I am taking this opportunity to share two of my favorite programs.
One is local to my area here in North Carolina, and deserves a lot more recognition than it sometimes gets.
The other is nationally known, but thanks to budget slashes from this new administration, their future is under threat. I hope you can find it in your heart to help one or both.
A little or a lot can make such a difference to people who, but for the Graces, could well be ourselves and our families.
My local area, the so-called Research Triangle of North Carolina, is much more affluent that many places in the South. It’s known for being a high tech center, home to a number of famed universities, many successful corporations, and the state capital.
But behind the glitzy suburbs and manicured lawns, there is a growing disparity of income, as well as an increasing population of the underserved, and underfed.
In fact, one in four children in North Carolina is considered “food insecure.” That means they lack access to enough good, healthy, and culturally appropriate food.
Chatham County is one such place. As the Chatham Outreach Alliance (CORA) explains:
Food insecurity is a hidden yet pervasive problem in Chatham County.
CORA’s clients are our fellow citizens who come from a variety of backgrounds, but all are marginalized by poverty. Many are the working poor: those who mow our lawns, assist our elderly, care for our children or work in other low-wage jobs.
Some are disabled or elderly or children. Every day, volunteers at the pantry witness the resilience, tenacity and courage it takes for our clients to manage their lives on limited resources. A car breakdown or a medical emergency could mean going without food.
In July 1989, CORA provided food to its first clients, a family of six — two adults and four children. Twenty-six years later, in the fiscal year that ended in June 2014, 215 tons of food were distributed to their clients.
CORA currently serves over 500 families each month, and expects to distribute 20,000 individual weekly food rations this fiscal year.
Dignity and Empowerment
CORA is not just a food pantry. It is a force in our community working to restore dignity, health, and self-sufficiency through food. With an emphasis on healthier food choices, it is set up like a grocery store, and clients shop for their own food with the assistance of a volunteer, selecting food in quantities based on family size.
This gives clients a feeling of empowerment and self-esteem, so important in times of great hardship. It also engages the volunteers more closely with those whom they serve, plus it helps to reduce food waste.
As you can imagine, thanks to the combination of the crashed economy in 2008 (from which many have never recovered), as well as a North Carolina legislature that is indifferent (at best) to the suffering of poverty, CORA is a lifeline for many who would otherwise go hungry.
They get some funding from United Way and other sources. But private help is vital for their survival.
If you would like to give financial assistance, please click here.
If you are local, and would like to join the Chatham Walk to End Hunger on Nov. 5, 2017 (which helps CORA), click here.
Meals On Wheels
As you may remember from earlier this year, there was a huge blow-up when word spread that the new administration had created a budget that would eliminate funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which provides partial funding for local Meals on Wheels groups.
While the news that he was ending Meals On Wheels was an exaggeration, and it was not exactly true it would have killed the program, it certainly set up the service for a tough blow.
Now, with a new budget quickly working its way through Congress, where are we?
Well, it turns out that the Senate’s new budget cuts $76 million from the Meals on Wheels program. In turn, it gives generous tax breaks to the upper 1% of the country’s most wealthy.
Meals On Wheels Makes a Difference to Nearly 2.4 Million Seniors
Meals on Wheels has been guided by a single goal since the first known U.S. delivery by a small group of Philadelphia citizens in 1954 – to support our senior neighbors to extend their independence and health as they age.
What started as a compassionate idea has grown into one of the largest and most effective social movements in America, currently helping nearly 2.4 million seniors annually in virtually every community in the country.
For millions of Americans, Meals on Wheels is literally the difference between remaining in their own homes and needing to relocate to a nursing facility. The nutritious meal, friendly visit, and safety check help them cope with three of the biggest threats of aging: hunger, isolation and loss of independence.
Research proves that when seniors have the right support, they gain greater quality of life, need fewer hospital stays and live longer.
But times are changing and a catastrophic budget is quietly making its way onto the books. This puts millions at risk of unnecessary hunger, illness, and even death.
Can you help? Here are two things you can do:
One in four local Meals on Wheels programs across the country has a waiting list of hungry seniors who need to be fed, but lack the funding to do anything about it. Help rally support and call on Congress to fully fund Meals on Wheels before the December 8th decision deadline.
Give What You Can
Make sure our elders are not forgotten. Each donation helps to ensure all seniors live nourished lives with independence and dignity.
Thank you for your care and for taking action to help those who are in need.
May you never hunger; may you never thirst. Blessed be.