It is with a heavy heart that I sit down to write today. Some of the weight I feel is still lingering from last week’s post about the lack of availability of summer meal programs in my community for school children who qualify for free or reduced school lunch. Over the past week this topic has come up more than once. I discussed the issue with a couple of people who had read my blog, but it also came up as the topic of a post on a Facebook local mom’s group to which I belong. While those discussions did not change the circumstances here in my community, I am taking some encouragement from the fact that people are starting to realize the existence of the problem and discuss ways in which they can help.
The other reason my heart is heavy is because I found out that one of the food pantries in which I volunteer has recently been robbed. I was supposed to volunteer there this morning, but had a scheduling conflict. Consequently, I do not know what impact this theft has had on their operation. While it probably won’t shut down the pantry all together, it will limit what they are able to distribute. In addition to hampering the pantry’s ability to distribute certain items, the equipment taken will be costly to replace, further restricting the resources this organization has to provide assistance to this community.
I expected, when I began to volunteer in food pantries and research the topic of hunger in America, that I would experience moments of sadness or even a feeling of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem. For the most part, I have found those instances to have been few in number. I am able to remain optimistic because of the gratitude I have felt from the people I am assisting and the generosity and commitment of the numerous people I have encountered fighting this fight against hunger in America. The reality of last week’s post and this robbery, however, have left me with a feeling of despair. I know it will pass, but at the moment I can’t help but wonder what difference I think I can make when these are the odds faced.
For now I think I will keep this post short to avoid spreading my pessimistic view. For those of you who are local, I will be happy to provide you with contact information if you wish to offer this pantry financial assistance. I will also be happy to collect any donations, monetary or otherwise, and them deliver to the pantry.