Here we are in the final week of the month of September where I have been discussing hunger awareness. September is Hunger Awareness Month. Where does the time go? Where did summer go? It is starting to cool down and the days are rapidly getting shorter. If you are a shelterless/homeless person, perhaps you find yourself in a desperate situation, not knowing how you will survive this winter. If you are living at or below the poverty line, perhaps your funds have run out for the month and you don't know how you will provide food for your family and/or yourself. If this has never been an issue for you, if you have never been hungry, not knowing where your next meal will come from - if you have never worried about having a roof over your head, worried about where you will spend each night, perhaps it is difficult to understand the panic, fear, dread, anger and hopelessness that may fill your life on a daily basis.
There are agencies and churches that are doing all they can to help alleviate these desperate situations, but there is not always enough to go around. Feeding America/Second Harvest is the biggest organization in the United States to assist in alleviating hunger. Here is how they work.
How Our Network Works
HOW OUR NETWORK WORKS
But, Feeding America/Second Harvest cannot do the job alone. We must all become aware of the desperate need that many in our country live with day to day, week to week, month to month. We are the wealthiest country in the world and it is time that we do more to help with this situation. As the recession drags on and jobs are few, there are more and more families facing a future of hunger and homelessness. Many are literally a day away from not knowing where they will go when they can no longer pay their rent. It is a frightening situation, especially for children. Families face loosing their children and so they hide them so that authorities will not know their situation. Can you imagine?
Today, we had a huge crowd for lunch because it is the end of the month and funds are gone. Many, many families came to get food boxes to help them make it through the week. Remember, they can only come 3 times in a 6 month period. That is not a lot of assistance, but it does help when times are desperate. We fed more people at noon today than I have seen in a while. Today we had Tomato Tortellini Soup, hot ham and cheese sandwiches, and bananas. We received a huge shipment of bananas from Second Harvest and everyone was thrilled to have a whole banana. Ever thought you would be thrilled to have a whole banana? Think about it.
Here is the recipe for today's soup. It is so good, nutritious and filling. We have one huge pot that we make soup in. Today, we could have used several more huge pots of soup. There were no seconds because of the large number of people eating. But, that's okay - everyone had one helping of everything. It always makes me think of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Somehow, we manage to make it go around. I am always truly amazed and it makes my heart joyful to see everyone leaving with their hunger alleviated one more time, with a grateful heart and a smiling face.
Tomato Tortellini Soup (with vegetables)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 box chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you are vegetarian)
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1/2 large can tomato juice (or use it all if you want to extend the soup)
1 9 oz. package cheese tortellini (we used Buitoni 3 cheese tortellini)
2 tsp. basil
salt and pepper to taste
Put the stock, basil, tomatoes, tomato juice, zucchini, onions, and carrots in a soup pot. Bring to a low boil. Cook until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Add the tortellini and return soup to a low boil. Cook until the tortellini is done, about 8 - 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
This is such a wonderful tomato based soup. Give it a try and when you are eating it, think about all those who would love to have a bowl too. Do what you can. Winter is coming. Blankets, sleeping bags, tents, scarves, gloves, hats and coats will all be needed soon. Make a donation to your favorite clothing bank. We all have clothes in our closets we don't wear. And if you can, make a financial donation or food donation to your local food bank. There are many, many people who will benefit from it, including yourself by knowing you have helped someone in need. I have never experienced so much joy from helping others.
Things to Remember:
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.