The urchins and I volunteer at our church food pantry at least once a week. And every single time we are there, it is such a humbling experience.
Now some of the people are stinky liars who are just there for the free stuff. We know that, and we can pretty much tell who they are before they ever open their stinky, lying mouths. And we do serve those stinky liars if they qualify based on income. But most don't fall into the stinky liar category. Most of them are there because they simply don't have another option.
Skeeter was unemployed for several months about 5 years ago. We went almost 6 months without a paycheck or insurance. We used our church food pantry twice during that time, and let me tell you, it was a tremendous blessing. The pantry challenge may be a game for me now, but at that time it was a necessity.
Recently our church's pantry has seen a significant increase in younger people, families with young children, who are there because of unemployment. And I have been there. I know how it feels to humble yourself and ask for help when you'd rather do anything but. And yet the rational part of you knows that if you've got food in the pantry, you can use food money to pay for other, just-as-important things like electricity and water and a place to live.
We also have the older people who are now getting by, barely, on Social Security. Some of those people have to ask me to write their special requests because they aren't even functionally literate. Some of them are just doing the best they can to take care of their grandchildren or great-grandchildren.
As I said, it's humbling. It's one thing to hear about people who are struggling; it's another to see it. And because of that, I do think it's important for us to be there, the urchins included. Learning to show caring to others is just as important as history or math -- and arguably more so.
Many food pantries are now overwhelmed with requests, ours included. During the upcoming holidays, I encourage you to think about setting aside an amount to give to a food pantry, even a small amount. You would be astonished at the amount of food that $5 can purchase from the food bank. You will be making a difference in someone's life. And you just might be showing God's grace to the stinky liars.