Hunger in America: Whoever is kind to the needy honors God

Ever said, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse”?  Do you remember that feeling of being hungry and your stomach growls?  Most, if not all of us, have experienced this and have been fortunate enough to be able to open a cupboard or refrigerator and satisfy that growl.  However, in Palmer that is not so for far too many of our neighbors; possibly the worker who serves you your coffee each morning, or the clerk who hands you your scratch ticket, or the attendant who cheerfully greets you. They are often invisible to us as we go about our daily lives but they could be the face of hunger.  They could be experiencing food insecurity, even as employed, hard- working, responsible individuals.

Food insecurity is a measure of inadequate or uncertain access to food, including healthy food and is estimated based on social and economic characteristics such as income.

According to the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment prepared by Baystate Wing Hospital, “Food insecurity continues to impact the ability of many Baystate Wing service area residents to access healthy food.  Part of Palmer is considered a food desert, which is an area where low-income people have limited access to grocery stores.”  “Many Baystate Wing service area residents struggle with poverty and low levels of income.  Parts of Palmer have poverty rates greater than 15%.”

Surprised?  Shocked?  Good!  I should have your full attention and hopefully you are asking yourself, how can I help.  Easiest way is to consistently and generously donate unexpired food items to our Food Pantry managed by the Missions Committee.  Food insecurity is not a new human condition.  In Isaiah 58:10, he says, “ If you give some of your own food to [feed] those who are hungry and to satisfy [the needs of] those who are humble, then your light will rise in the dark, and your darkness will become as bright as the noonday sun.”

The Missions Committee will continue to place the “tags” on the tables in the Norman Room with their requested food items which can be left in the basket to the right of the Norman Room doors as you enter the sanctuary.  There is a possibility our Food Pantry may experience an increase in demand due to the Community Resource book the Outreach Team just completed and is now distributing into Palmer and surrounding communities.  In the resource book, we list our Food Pantry as a source of emergency food.  (This book will be available on our church website soon).

Let’s shed some noonday sun into the lives of our neighbors because “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. … The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. — Proverbs 22:9.

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