I have to admit, like most, I lose focus and don't really think about the many many families who go without unless there is a can drive, or a specific purpose to raise awareness, BUT... I am going to change that! Do you know that in New Bedford, MA there are more than 546 homeless families?!? That's right... not people... FAMILIES! This is based on the New Bedford Public Schools' figures. Let's pretend the average family is a family of 4...
4x546 = 2184 people homeless (excluding the homeless individuals)
2184/94,000 people in New Bedford (according to the last census)
= almost 2.5% of the population!!
Now, I know these figures are just estimates, but this is a HUGE problem!! A problem that is not going to be helped by supplying a family with a box of food that will barely last a week. So this is my challenge...
- Find a box, or a tote, or a spot in a closet or room that you can use to "stock".
- Put aside at least $1 a week to "Stock the Pantry"
- Now, each week use that $1 to buy an item of food (nonperishable) or if Peanut Butter is on sale, or you make a purchase greater than the $1... keep it to $4 dollars a month (more if you can afford it)
- If you have kids, give them the dollar and tell them they have to find something they like to put in the box. Let them take ownership of the box!! Get them involved!! If you have 2 kids, give them each a dollar or alot $2 a month to each box... whatever!
- Pretend that you are stocking up for a week, for a family of 4... what would you want to eat?
Now, next year when the food drives come... you are ready!! If you have a place of worship, charity or pantry that would like to donate to... GREAT!! If you aren't sure where to donate, I know that St. Lawrence, located at 110 Summer Street and Holy Family Holy Name School, at 91 Summer Street, would be more than happy to accept any donations that you have. If you live outside the area, I am sure that they are in need, as well!! Please, it doesn't take much to find a center that can distribute the food.
OR... you can have a special piggy bank that you can place $1 a week. This is money you can donate to help these programs; to allow them to purchase the food items that are still need at the end of the collection (i.e. Mayonnaise for the tuna and turkey, peanut butter is the every meal food, tomato sauce for a great multipurpose item)
Challenge your friends, your family, your coworkers!! This is a problem that these families are struggling with every single day. Maybe in the process in making my children aware and making the community more aware, we can help ease it a little. Why not ask your dentist, pediatrician, or real estate agent, etc to place a box for a collection? If you want to participate but are concerned about not being able to deliver the items, do it!
Remember, hunger isn't a religious, or racial, or political issue... it can effect anyone! It effects the young and the old. Please, don't decide not to help because it is a parish or place of worship that is collecting the items. These are the places that care for our community! They care for the people and families that so desperately need it.
*** I know that there are state funded programs, etc, but these are not working. The numbers continue to rise. The only way to start fixing problems is for everyone to come together and start with their neighborhoods, their communities, their local charities... we need to fix it!! Thank you for your help!!!
Happy Holidays!! I wish everyone a safe, healthy, happy holiday!!!