You can fight hunger right here

Published 9:11 am Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The three columns I have been privileged to write have made it clear that hunger is a problem and a major one.

The numbers related help us to see the magnitude of the problem, but the facts may tend to overwhelm us. As we consider the data, it’s easy to sit in awe and fold but hands saying, “It’s just too big a problem.

There’s nothing I can do about it.” Mother Teresa may have known those same feelings, but she countered them with this wisdom: “I never take care of crowds, only of one person. If I stop to look at crowds, I would never begin.”

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And, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” In other words, do what you can.

The Society of St. Andrew in a Bible study entitled, “The Fast I Choose,” presents a list of suggestions in response to the question, “What Can I Do?”

1. PRAY: Pray for those of our human family who do not have sufficient food.

Pray also for wisdom in discovering what you can do to help the hungry.

2. BECOME MORE INFORMED: Learn more about hunger. Read and study books, magazine

articles, and newspaper stories dealing with hunger and related issues. Learn about hunger in your own community.

3. DISCUSS THE TRAGEDY OF HUNGER WITH YOUR FAMILY: It is important to help our families realize the scope of hunger. Take time to discuss the issues raised by living in a hungry world with those nearest you.

4. RAISE AWARENESS OF OTHERS: When you share what you learn about hunger with others, you will find out that you are not alone in your concern for the hungry. Many of your friends and neighbors are also looking for ways to help.

5. FORM A LOCAL HUNGER ACTION GROUP: Help interested people in your church and/or community to organize on behalf of the hungry. Working together provides inspiration and support to tackle hunger head-on.

6. CONTRIBUTE TO A HUNGER MINISTRY: Most hunger ministries provide high service return. Many spend every dollar donated on hunger relief.

7. WORK TOWARD A MORE RESPONSIBLE LIFESTYLE: Most of us can consume less of the world’s resources than we now use. We certainly can be less wasteful and more mindful of the needs of our hungry world.

8. BECOME AN ADVOCATE FOR THE HUNGRY: Speak on behalf of the hungry. They have little or no voice, but you can support public policies that help the hungry around the world as well as around the corner.

9. VOLUNTEER: Most hunger relief organizations need the help of volunteers. Become involved in ministering directly to the needs of others by helping at a

soup kitchen, food pantry, etc. You can even help salvage food from farmers’ fields or grocery stores and deliver it to those in need.

10. START NOW: There is no better time to begin than right now. If you wait for a better time to come along, it probably won’t. Begin your fight against hunger right now. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Do something now.

These suggestions make a lot of sense, but you may still be wondering what specifically you can do in Ironton and Lawrence County, today to help. Here are a few things to consider:

1. There are several church and community food pantries in the area. All these organizations need your help. Support these existing efforts with your prayers and your pocketbooks.

2. Organize a food drive through your club, job, school, class or other group.

The Postal Workers and Boy Scouts are just two of the groups that already do this sort of activity.

3. If your church doesn’t have a food pantry pray about establishing one. A quicker and perhaps more efficient approach might be for your church to commit to helping support one of the existing pantries.

4. Encourage your church, class, club, society or neighborhood to hold an event to educate people about the hunger problem.

5. Volunteer your time to work with one of the food pantries.

6. Inform friends, neighbors and family that there are places to get help if procuring food is a problem for them.

One last thing from me as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Ironton.

I have watched with anticipation as the new “Harvest for the Hungry” building has gone up at the corner of Fifth and Railroad streets. It now houses the Downtown Churches’ Food Pantry which has been in existence since the early 1990s. With this new facility it is hoped that more people can be served and in the future more services offered.

To fulfill its potential we need your help. If you agree that hunger is a problem, and you would like to help tackle it, we offer you this opportunity.

The “Harvest for the Hungry” fund raising campaign is seeking to raise $120,000 to cover the pantry’s budget for the next two years. It is our goal to make it a self-supporting project through foundations and industry assistance.

Our campaign began on Sept. 2 and will continue through Nov. 11 when we will celebrate with a special worship service on Harvest for the Hungry Sunday. We encourage you to help us with a donation. Checks should be made to First United Methodist Church with “Food Pantry” or “Harvest for the Hungry” on the memo line.

Also, we’d love to have you come to worship with us on Nov. 11 at 10:30. We’ll celebrate your generosity and you can come join with us in dropping your gift in the big, brass, “Harvest for the Hungry” kettle.

This column has presented just a few of the things you might think about doing, but remember in your thinking the destination for those who simply think and conclude with good intentions only.

As the St. Andrew’s list concludes, the point of National Hunger Action Month is that we need to do something about hunger and we need to start now.


The Rev. Wayne E. Young is pastor at the First United Methodist Church, located at 101 N. Fifth St., in Ironton. He can be reached at (740) 532-1196.