Saturday, December 17, 2016

Non-Political Food Pantries

This week at work, we had a planning meeting which wandered into January and February.  It's sobering to realize that we are late in planning for January--specifically for some sort of social justice project or community service approach to Martin Luther King day.

I wasn't planning to evangelize when I opened my mouth; I was thinking about projects that would be easy to put together.  I said, "We could have some sort of food drive.  My church runs a food pantry that gives food to everyone who needs it.  I could get a list from them.  They're in Pembroke Pines, which is part of our community" (my school campus is right on the border of Hollywood and Pembroke Pines). 

I mentioned that an added benefit would be to let our students know about community resources that exist; one of the heartbreaking thing about working in higher ed is realizing how many students are struggling with huge issues, like hunger and homelessness, in addition to going to school.

We talked about other possibilities, like some sort of letter writing campaign, as it will also be Inauguration Day.  I could sense the hesitation in the room.  I said, "That's why I return to the idea of collecting food for a food pantry.  It's the very rare person who objects to feeding the hungry--that's not seen as too political."

We didn't develop specific plans--another advantage of a food drive is that it doesn't take much planning.  But it was a good conversation to have. 

In a week of horrifying news out of Syria (and what week in the past year or two hasn't been full of that kind of news, out of Syria or other places of slaughter), it's good to remember that most of us would really like to help our communities, both the local ones and the larger ones.

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