I had an eye-opening experience this past weekend. The church my family attends, Eagle Brook Church, has been doing a series about social justice issues. We’ve been learning about why it’s important to take notice of those who need help not only in our own cities, but also across the world. For 10 days, we were given the chance to volunteer for a Twin Cities non-profit called Feed My Starving Children. They are a hunger relief organization that provides food to over 60 countries.
They host what they call ‘mobile pack’ events where volunteers help to pack their meals. Throughout the course of 10 days, over 11-thousand volunteers from our church and our community came out to pack meals. I was fortunate enough to volunteer this past Saturday morning and it certainly was an amazing experience.
I believe I’ve always had a compassionate heart, but I can’t say I really know what it’s like to be truly hungry. Sure I might miss lunch by an hour or forget to eat breakfast, but that kind of hunger can easily be remedied. I can eat anytime, anyplace I want to. My biggest problem with food isn’t that I can’t get access to it…rather that since I can eat anything, I often eat too much. It’s hard for me to imagine that there are people who don’t have access to food and will literally starve to death.
But to help pack these meals, really forced me to think about world hunger. All of us volunteers were set up at different stations. I held each bag at my station tight so that they could go under a machine that would seal them tight. I got this job because the table I was at was mainly full of junior high-age kids and you needed to be at least 18 to do the bag job. I was asked if I was over 18. At first I jokingly said no, but I guess there aren’t too many bald 18 year olds with grey-speckled beards out there! 🙂
Before the event someone told me that the cool thing about volunteering for Feed My Starving Children, is that short of visiting one of these countries where the meals are sent..this is about as hands on as you can get. We were the last ones touching these bags. The next person to open this bag of food will be the mother of a starving child or someone who runs an orphanage.
During the hour and a half shift, my back really started to hurt. But before I could feel too sorry for myself, I had to give thanks for the many blessings I have. Surely an hour and a half of minor back discomfort is nothing compared to worrying about where your next meal will come from.
What does all of this have to do with autism? Not much, I suppose. From time to time I think I’ll write about things on this blog that aren’t necessarily autism-related. Perhaps that way I’ll actually post more! Plus, I guess it shows that autism hasn’t totally defined my family’s world and that we’re capable to seeing other things going on too.
I will say though that we often worry about my son’s diet. He’s on the GF/CF diet that so many kids with autism are on. He’s a very picky eater. Even though he mainly survives on chicken, mashed potatoes, and lately lots and lots of pudding, we have no problems having access to food and having the means to purchase it for him. For that I am very grateful. I just pray that somehow the rest of the world will be able to have a good, nutritious meal every day.
Here’s a video our church produced to promote the Feed My Starving Children event. It’s pretty short and should give you an even better idea of the program than my ramblings have. I’m also working on a story about the event for the tv station I work at. I’ll try to post that later this week when it’s done. If you’d like to learn even more about Feed My Starving Children, visit their website here.