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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Churches And Food Banks Fill Cracks For Needy And Poor

When times are tough, no one feels it harder than the poor and the needy. As prices rise, people on fixed incomes find it more challenging to make ends meet. There is only so much government aid can provide. When gaps appear in a household budget, especially their food budget, churches and food banks can fill the cracks for the needy and the poor.

About ten years ago, life was pretty good for me. I was married, had kids and a respectable family income. Our family attended Christ The King Catholic Community in Las Vegas. They have a ministry called the "Manna Cupboard". It is designed to be a one-time help for those in need.

If you find that you're caught between jobs or just can't make ends meet, the "Manna Cupboard" will provide you with a week's supply of food and other household items.

This charity is not designed to be an ongoing means of support, but it can help an individual or family get by for another week.

Several years later, I was attending Canyon Ridge Christian Community, also in Las Vegas. They have an outreach that will provide food and sundries to the needy. You have to meet with the ministry's director and answer questions related to the nature of your need. If you qualify, you are assigned a time to stop in and select items from their cupboards. This can provide much needed help to homeless individuals or families on a continuing basis.

Now that I am in Cleveland, I've learned about the Cleveland Food Bank. Similar organizations exist in cities nationwide. I don't know what qualifications you need to meet in order to receive food and supplies from the Food Bank.

I know of two churches, right around the corner from where I live, that offer free meals. I don't know the name of either church; but one provides a free meal every Wednesday at 5 pm and gives attendees a large bag of KFC chicken to take home. The other church offers a free meal on the last Sunday of the month.

I'm sure there are many more ministries throughout the city that offer meals or assistance with food and household items.

If you have a need or know someone who has a need, it can be very relieving and worthwhile to seek out charities that offer support.

Most people don't understand how important these charities can be in times of need. When 9/11 hit the economy in 2001, the amount of people going to the "Manna Cupboard" at Christ The King tripled. Many of these people had just lost their jobs; they had homes, savings accounts and other assets; but they had an interruption in their cash flow. Most were not eligible for government assistance because of their assets. The church was there for them.

If you are fortunate enough to not need help from a church or food bank, think about volunteering. The machinery of these organizations rely on volunteers. They also rely on donations. Food banks tend to get donations from corporations and large food suppliers, but they still have ongoing needs that can be filled by your generous donations.

Taking care of the poor is a noble task. We should all be grateful for what we have and find ways to share a bit with those less fortunate. If you donate or volunteer, you'll be doing a great service to help churches and food banks fill the cracks for the needy and the poor.

Give generously. Peace.

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