Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to volunteer as part of VU Night at the Food Bank. I was originally part of the hot dog crew–you could tell us by our gloves and hair-nets. But then, to my good fortune, we were pulled, my wife and I, to begin the cheese-packing process. This was gloveless and cap-less work for all but my dear wife, who refused to take her hair-net off. “I don’t get to wear these all that often,” came her reasoning. That’s fair, I guess.
We put 2800 lbs. of individually wrapped cheese into bags of 16, then boxed them to be shipped. The cheese packages were frigid, and soon I couldn’t feel my hands, as I groped and grabbed cheese package after cheese package. We labored for two hours–packing and packing and packing.
We did this because we wanted to help and it was a good thing to do. Of course, these were our motives. But we also did this for another, more practical reason: We did this because people out there–somewhere out there–don’t have cheese.
I mean, I know this isn’t some novel concept, but seriously, how often do you think of it? There are a bunch of people in this world that don’t have food. THEY DON’T HAVE FOOD. My TV isn’t the size I’d like it to be and my car needs a good washing, but some people don’t have food. THEY DON’T HAVE FOOD.
I missed lunch today. Just up and lost track of time. Currently I am consuming a package of peanuts and an apple juice, but within minutes I could have a sub sandwich or a steak or delicious Mexican food–chips and cheese? Yes, please. I mean, it is merely a walk away.
But the other night reminded me that this world is a broken, broken place. And this doesn’t mean I have to feel bad about eating or that I have to finish everything on my plate “because people in Africa are starving” (despite what mothers everywhere out there may say). But what it does mean is that at all times there are people in this world hurting, dying, and starving. I need to be cognizant of that. I need to be thankful for what I have, sure, but I also need to keep those people in mind, and, when possible, package hot dogs, sling cheese, give money, pray, and do whatever else I can, not just to stay in touch with what is going on in the world, but to reach out and actually touch it.
The second VU Night at the Food Bank is Tuesday, September 17th.