Tend to the hungry by making food for them

BRATTLEBORO — On a recent Friday, the local soup kitchen where I attend, Loaves and Fishes, served 490 meals - a record high!

Included in this reckoning was food for 40 children at an adjacent day-care center, plus meals for them and their families for the weekend. The rest was a larger-than-normal demand by walk-in clients plus their own take-outs, for this early part of the month.

We also had to explain to those attending something not entirely made clear by the feds or the state of Vermont: that the state had anticipated the government shutdown and did a good thing to ensure food stamps for February.

The state drowned that message in bureaucratese about how if you had signed up late, you'd have to be sure of getting food by calling a certain toll-free number - where, it turned out, you could wait for 45 minutes or more to be so assured.

In a second, even-longer, epistle about children's food, some five pages, the state also intended the document as a good security notice, but it produced the opposite: anxiety.

The real problem is that there is enough food for all, all the time, and the guy you see panhandling down at the bridge by the Co-op “for food” is collecting for some other reason. I have even seen people panhandling there during mealtimes at the two food kitchens in Brattleboro, ours and Bridgid's Kitchen.

It's not “raising awareness” of hunger that is the problem, but a lack of contribution to tending to the hungry by making food for them.

If you have skills to do so (good hygiene and safety), and if you're knife safe, it will be worth training you for two or three weeks since you will become actually useful beyond that timeframe.

That is the big yawn at hunger ground-zero, contrasted with what the chattering classes say about hunger.

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