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Walking Our Faith: No child hungry this Lent

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Walking Our Faith

 

She had promised to bring chili to the church dinner to feed her neighbors. But it was the end of the month and she didn’t have much in her cupboards. She had even less in her bank account.

But she did have two large sweet potatoes, four cans of beans and two cans of crushed tomatoes. She peeled and chopped the sweet potatoes, mixed them with the beans, tomatoes and spices. When it was cooked through, she had created a delicious, warm meal to feed a half-dozen hungry souls.

The story of Jesus feeding the five thousand with two fish and five loaves took on new meaning for her as she realized that the real miracle that Jesus performed that day wasn’t the multiplication of food, but love.



Have you ever come to the end of the month and discovered you had little food in your refrigerator and even less money in your bank account? I have. In past years, more than one month-end found my cupboards bare. Perhaps that’s why I find food insecurity in our community, especially among children, a need that speaks to my heart.

A few months ago, I received an email from Smart Bellies and made a donation to feed children at Christmas. Later, my friend Maggie invited me to join her in delivering groceries to families on behalf of Smart Bellies.



We’ve been doing that every two weeks since. I thought about Smart Bellies when I read the article in the Summit Daily News on Tuesday about the demand for food assistance in Summit County. The story mentioned that the Family & Intercultural Resource Center has served more than 7,500 households through its food pantry since the pandemic began.

To live in our mountain community is a privilege. To be surrounded by natural beauty and a caring community is a blessing. What could make it better? To live in a community where no child goes to bed hungry or wakes up and goes to school without breakfast.

During this season of Lent, we are called to almsgiving, which asks us to obey Jesus Christ’s command that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. I can’t think of anything that embodies that more than making sure our neighbors have food in their cupboards.

Jesus understood that to love our neighbors is to provide their most basic needs, because people who are fed a healthy diet live healthy lives, and children who receive the nutrients they need every day can focus on their teachers, not their hungry bellies.

I wrote to Margaret Sheehe and Sarah Schmidt, the founders of Smart Bellies, to ask them what they need at this time. Here’s their response:

“This week our numbers are 380 kids and 175 families. We’re delivering tons of produce and items for family meals along with our regular kids’ menu with breakfasts, lunches, produce and snacks. People can always sign up to volunteer if money isn’t possible (SmartBellies.org/volunteer). But honestly right now, money is the most helpful. It allows us to purchase fresh produce, meat and cheese to add to our donated shelf-stable items.“

I fast on Fridays during Lent and during the Holy Week before Easter. I will donate to Smart Bellies the money I save on meals those days.

May I encourage you to donate to Smart Bellies, too? I believe we can eliminate food insecurity in our community. No amount of money is too small or too large. We can create our own multiplication of loaves and fish. Imagine Summit County with no hungry children.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” — Matthew 25:35-40

We’re reading through the Gospels this year. This week, we’re reading Matthew Chapters 9 and 10. Please join us!

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” — Matthew 9: 37-38

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.


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