April 16, 2011

Toys or Food?

     What happens when you get a group of teenagers ask them to not eat for 30 hours and to top it off have them spend the last 3-4 hours of that working in a food bank?  Serious damage to the local Golden Corral LOL.  That's how 20+ members of our Youth Group spent Friday and Saturday.
  30 hour Famine is a world wide movement that groups participate in to help bring awareness of hunger and what going without really feels like.    While working at our county's food bank Miss Shirley shared different stories of families that have been helped.  One particularly touched my heart.  While working with a new family the volunteer offered the little boy a toy.  He didn't answer her.  She showed him the toys he could choose from and again he didn't respond.  Wanting to be sure the little boy could have a toy she asked the mother if is was okay.  The mother prompted the little boy to answer and he did:  "If I take the toy will we still be allowed to get the food?"  A 5yr old child was so aware of the meaning of hunger that he was afraid his decision could jeopardize his family a the food they desperately needed.  I cannot comprehend that hunger like that is affecting families that are essentially my neighbors. 
     April 5th was One Day Without Shoes .  Around the World there was over 1,000 different events held on college campuses as well as places of business.  This event is sponsored by Tom's Shoes.  While walking without shoes around your school or office doesn't seem all that challenging imagine walking miles everyday in Africa without carpeting or sidewalks barefoot.  At Emily's school they had the kids walk through different ground coverings to get a true feel of what a shoeless day could feel like.  While today it seems that every time you do a charitable activity there has to be a T-Shirt to accompany it.  Instead of going out and having shirts made Tom's supplies stencils so everyone can make quick shirts on their own. 

We've all seen homeless people.  Have you thought about what they go through during the winter?  Would you be willing to spend the night outside?  I'm not talking about camping.  I am talking about sleeping in a cardboard box.  If it dropped to 20 degrees they don't get to give up and go inside.  If it rains and their boxes collapse they don't get to run inside change clothes and restart fresh.  Cardboard cities are popping up all over our country.  Granted they may just be for 12 -24 hours but students  of all ages are doing this so that instead of being just sympathetic but have just a little bit of empathy as well.

     Growing up I just don't remember being so aware of the needs of the world around me.  I did volunteer at The Lighthouse in Bay Shore.  This was a training center for the Blind.  I really enjoyed reading to them, helping them learn life skills or simply playing the guitar.  I had friends who were candy stripers at Southside Hospital.  Many of us were Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and involved in our church groups working around our community.  I just do not remember there being events.  Well now there always the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon that signaled the end of summer but beyond that I can't recall
     I am awed by this current generation of kids and how quickly they will answer the call.  Is it just a day without shoes or 30 hours without food, maybe.  Do you really think they'll forget it??
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