Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Need is Great

OldTownCOC_01.02.10-209

My little friend here spent much of yesterday morning at the local soup kitchen/Christian Outreach Center. This little frito-bandito was doing everything he could do to stay warm and it wasn't working. It was 5-degrees without the wind chill.

Times are tough for a lot of folks these days...and especially so in Michigan, where the auto industry (and supporting businesses) are in the tank. There are many unemployed and underemployed. It has been explained to me that most folks first pay their bills -- rent (or mortgage), heat, electricity, cell phone, cable, etc. and only then do they think about buying food. It gets especially difficult near the end of the month when cash is thin. That's what makes the soup kitchens and outreach centers so important. It gives folks a resource to help them bridge the gap.

OldTownCOC_01.02.10-38

The folks above are standing in line to receive a box of groceries, a blanket, a prayer and some brotherly love.

This time of year I start cleaning out my closets of stuff I haven't touched for a while. I don't need it, in fact, I probably never needed it. I WANTED it, but didn't need it. What's up with that? In any case, I take it to the local outreach center where it is given to someone who NEEDS it.

I am constantly reminded of my friend Ron. He owns one fork, one knife and one spoon. It's his gentle reminder. He can pull it off being a single guy and he is on the road a lot. Not everyone can do what he does, but I'll bet you can make a concession or two three. I know I can.

It's a good time of year for a resolution, eh?

Happy Blessed New Year.

+++

8 comments:

Jay said...

I saw these pics when you posted them on FB, but I SO enjoyed reading the words that you put with them... particularly "frito-bandito" -- at our house, we make everything rhyme, and if we can't think of something to rhyme it with... we just repeat it (for ex. we call our cat, Simba, SimbaBimba... and when someone is sneaky, they are a "sneak sneak" etc.) ... I know, we're weird. But I will so be stealing that phrase. :)

This morning a guy at our church prayed a prayer of thanks... which is normal, but his thanks was a prayer of thankfulness for a year where so many people have been "forced" to rely on God more. My family was fortunate this year in that we both have jobs - but my sister lost hers about a month ago, with a daughter in college and a son that is a sophomore in high school - it's definitely been tough on them, but even they are thankful and continue to be positive.

It always humbles me (and breaks my heart at the same time) to think about how many people there are with so much less than what we have. More often than not, I take all the blessings that we have for granted. It's shameful really. I can't imagine the temps. being what they are in Michigan, and even more than that - I can't imagine standing outside waiting for a meal in that weather. The work of a missionary is without a doubt spectacular -- but things like this remind me that you don't have to be on a "mission field" to fulfill the mission that we have all been called to fulfill.

Today I'll say a prayer for your little "frito-bandito" and his friends, and for you and for me and for everyone - that in this time of hardship and uncertainty we can all band together in some way or another to fight the good fight.

Thanks for this post.

p.s. --- do you guys have something there called Angel Food Ministries? It's a GREAT GREAT GREAT program that SO many people here take advantage of (because it is open to everyone, no matter what your income) --- you can check it out here:

http://www.angelfoodministries.com/

Dan said...

Jay, thanks for your thoughtful and heartfelt "comment". I've come to expect that from you. And you always seem to add dimension to what I've posted. I appreciate that...it makes it all the more powerful.

I've not heard of Angel Food Ministries, but I will check it out for SURE.

Happy New Year, friend.

Shutterbug said...

I will start cleaning out my closets tomorrow :O) Great shots on the blog. I have been out of it for the last week. I came down with the flu one hour after arriving in PA. It took me four days to recover, but it was great to see family. Hope you have a great new year! We should do lunch!

Dan said...

Welcome home, Carol. Sorry to hear you were under the weather. Speaking of the weather, welcome back to the ice box...had to be cold at the lake!

Hindsfeet said...

heartbreaking : ( oh god, this little boy.....and it's one thing to be needy yourself, but I can't imagine how terrified the parents of this child are...to have a little one like that in your care and to be standing in a soup kitchen line in 5 degree weather to feed him...oh god.... : (

...The contrast between theirs and my New Years smacked me across the face looking at these pics, Dan : (

I've been sharing with others here and there the comment you shared from that gentleman in South Africa, about his country never having known the wealth of our country's "recession"...that really drew me up short.....

...and now this...bringing it much closer to home...the dividing line between the haves and the have nots becoming a knife's edge...

Seems like until recently we have been so insulated from this in our country, and tragically in our churches, from suffering, from need, from the needy...we sequester them off, don't we...like it's something we don't want to catch, or that someone else should be "inconvenienced" by...

I guess in light of these pictures that more than the dwindling line between the haves and have nots, we should be concerning ourselves at this point with the widening chasm between the "sheep and the goats" (Matthew 25:31-45)...

Your photos really shed light, Dan, sometimes lovely and luminous, sometimes more on the order of a searchlight, exposing parts of myself I'd rather not see, but which are so imperative to see, i.e. my hypocrisy, my lacadaisical attitude toward "the least of these, my brethren"...until confronted with them, as I am here, face to face.

"Search me, try me, Oh God, and know my heart..." Ps 139:23

Dan said...

H, whenever I post something like this it starts by being a message to me....I guess I have a habit of roping everyone else in, however.

Yes, that comment my friend heard from the man in Togo is a stunner. In fact, my friend is in Togo again right this minute. He is a missionary-construction expert and coordinates bldg projects.

Thanks for adding an exclamation point to my message, Hindsfeet. It's a difficult message, but one I'm trying to take to heart. I'm really trying to make some meaningful change (within me). It can be a tough sell...I take my eye off the ball too much.

chemist said...

Dan:

I can't top the thoughtful comments already posted by Jay and Hinsfeet except to simply add that I often have to distinguish between what I "want" and what I really need. In today's materialistic world, we often succumb to way too many 'wants' that we really should never give in to.

Traveling Chemist

Dan said...

Always good to hear from you, TC. It's always nice hearing your perspective. Safe travels.

Dan