Monday, August 11, 2008

Food for Thought

Saturday morning, I stopped at the grocery store to get milk and garbage bags.

When I turned in to park, I noticed a bunch of moms and teens standing outside the two entrances. I quickly figured out where I could walk to try to avoid them. I really wasn't in the mood to be feel forced to buy popcorn or magazines to help support another marching band.

So I did my best to walk far away from the group of women. But sure enough, one trapped me. She quickly started talking, and I started trying to cut her off. But then a phrase caught my attention: "impoverished children in our county." They were volunteering for an organization that I have only heard of, and admired.
A few posts back, I casually mentioned that I'm blessed enough to never worry about not being able to feed my kids, and that we don't have to rely on free school food to fill their tummys. These women and teens outside the store were trying to make sure that hundreds of other children can eat, too. They help collect backpacks and food. Then, on Fridays, they fill backpacks with crackers, peanut butter, cans of soup and applesauce. And send them home with hundreds of children each weekend so that they can eat while they are away from school.

What an awesome thing to do.

I went in to the store, grabbed the two items I needed, and filled the cart with food for the backpacks. And for whatever reason, I was fighting back the tears as I shopped.

So many people in this area complain about what's called "busing." Our school system takes thousands of children from low income families, and buses them across town to schools in wealthier areas. Most parents in our area are not in favor of busing. They want their children's school to have lower "free and reduced lunch" ratios. I won't even get into why they think lower ratios have anything to do with their children, or why it matters.

But here's what hit me, as I pulled out of the store parking lot Saturday. If none of these children, who are so needy, were brought to our schools, then who would be there filling backpacks and making sure that they had enough to eat? Shouldn't we be greatful that we have the chance to serve and give back a tiny portion of what we have? Isn't that what God would want us to do?

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