Beyond giving a bag of food…
It has been in my heart to help people get beyond hunger by introducing them to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Good News of salvation (eternal impact), and by sharing the Good News of the Kingdom, which is the Lord’s will to manifest here on earth (here and now).
Beyond This Hunger (BTH) is a campaign to raise awareness of hunger in our cities and to raise funds to send individuals to an assessment-based program for 20 weeks. This includes eating one meal a day to experience what it’s like to be hungry.
Time is crawling when you are hungry. Hunger reveals a different reality compared to our common experience. My journey these past 5 days has brought me face to face with my inner self, my surroundings, and a keen awareness of others. I have been learning more about my behavior, especially when I am hungry. I feel selfish because all I can think about is the next meal. Since food is a basic human need, it affects our entire being. It affects how we think, how we behave, what our bodies may look like, our internal bodily functions and our emotions.
My journey took me to downtown Indianapolis to observe and to interview people from all walks of life about hunger. As I spoke with people, some were very empathetic, and some were judgmental. I can only imagine how hard it is to sit on a street corner smelling bacon, ham, and eggs, while watching people walking and snacking, and all you have in your pocket is a dime. One thing that resonated with me, was the feeling of loneliness and separation from society that the people I spoke with expressed. A man I met who lives on the street, goes to a technical school and is not losing hope, even though he has to scour food from garbage cans.
I had the privilege to interview Rocky, a Desert Storm veteran. He was sitting at a street corner asking for help. His life changed drastically when he retired from the Armed Forces. He said that 75% of the homeless are veterans. He also mentioned that in a certain area, referred to as Tent City, all the homeless were veterans. He told me that some people spit on his face and throw beer cans but he does not retaliate. I was shocked with his answer. I realize that it is much easier for us to say we forgive our enemies than when we actually experience it in the streets. Rocky has a strong faith in God, who sustains him. He can be calm in the middle of a storm. You will see the live FB posting here: https://www.facebook.com/merling1/videos/10155672500228297/
Rocky’s words stayed with me, “Anyone’s life could change in an instant.” Yes, many people are only a paycheck away from being evicted from their home and/or from suffering hunger. I feel so fortunate that I do not have to sleep in shelters or beg in the streets for my next meal. Thank you God!
As I continue into the Beyond This Hunger journey, I am discovering more about our interconnectedness with each other. Hunger affects everyone beyond empty stomachs. Hunger affects all of us physically and spiritually. It affects our mind, body, soul and spirit.