Feeding America projects that 42 million (1 in 8) Americans will experience food insecurity in 2021. That number includes 13 million children. If you have never personally experienced this, it may come as a shock to think that such a high percentage of Americans are unsure about where their next meal will come from.
In response to the pandemic when schools had to close, my local school system quickly organized a way to distribute free lunches to any family who needed them. A school bus was conveniently parked in several locations in our community for parents to come and receive lunch for their children. Our local food pantry does a mobile version that takes boxes of food stuffs into the community for easier distribution. During my Lent study, a couple shared with the class that they were adding a canned good to their “Lent Box” everyday and praying for each family that their donation would serve before adding it to the box. A few years ago, I had an opportunity to volunteer at a student food bank at my Alma mater, and was shocked to learn about how many students struggle to feed themselves after paying rent and tuition. My own church’s Trustee Committee is building a Little Free Food Pantry on our front lawn.
Those who have are called to share with those who have not.
This idea is as old as civilization itself. We see numerous examples of “inviting the stranger in” as a standard of hospitality in the Old Testament. Take a look at today’s Psalm and see what God has to say about suffering and eating:
Psalm 22 (Common English Bible)
I offer praise in the great congregation
because of you;
I will fulfill my promises
in the presence of those who honor God.
26 Let all those who are suffering eat and be full!
Let all who seek the Lord praise him!
I pray your hearts live forever!
The psalmist reminds us that part of fulfilling our promises to God includes making sure that those who suffer hunger have a chance to eat and be full. The next section reminds us that when we do these things in response to God’s call it, makes a positive witness to those around us. People remember God in our actions.
27 Every part of the earth
will remember and come back to the Lord;
every family among all the nations will worship you.
28 Because the right to rule belongs to the Lord,
he rules all nations.
29 Indeed, all the earth’s powerful
will worship him;
all who are descending to the dust
will kneel before him;
my being also lives for him.
The psalmist declares, “my being also lives for him.” Do you feel that way about the Lord? Do you live for him?
30 Future descendants will serve him;
generations to come will be told about my Lord.
31 They will proclaim God’s righteousness
to those not yet born,
telling them what God has done.
Working at a food bank or dropping off donations is just one way that we can partner with God and tell the world about what God has done for us. I pray you will make an effort to support the food pantry in your community this week. Let those who are suffering eat and be full!