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Always with us?
Lets start with some cliches. Why not? They hold more truth than poetry, dont they?
The poor are always with us. God must have loved the poor, there are so many of them.
Got any of your own? Join the crowd.
All of this comes up because of what I (and I do not have a financial stake in this, believe me) consider this newspapers remarkable recent series on the problem of feeding the hungry in our midst.
First of all, please, let us concede (can we deny it?) that many people are out of work. Also, let us concede that whether we call it a recession, a dip, a depression or plain spinach, if you are not working or just barely scraping out an existence, things are not very good right now.
The governments (note the plural) can help or choose to help, take your pick only so much. The philanthropists, and that includes you and me, are checking their checking accounts before being too generous.
All of which means there are people who go hungry in this, the greatest city in the greatest country in the world. Forget about why. Dont get caught up in blaming the lazy or the indolent. Kids are going hungry. Isnt that enough factual information for all of us?
Hardly a day goes by that we do not read or hear about the problems of places that help to feed those in need. But there are some bright spots.
Throughout our borough, houses of worship are among those places trying to help. One of these groups is the Queens Federation of Churches, which takes food collected at its member churches and sees that it is delivered to those in need.
One of those churches is the First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills, which is the oldest congregation in Forest Hills (dating to 1912) and surely one of the most diverse congregations in the city.
Every second Sunday, food and money for food are collected during the offertory. The children of the church pick up the food from the parishioners (some of the bags are really heavy for some of the little ones!) while the ushers collect the contributions for the work of the church in the community and beyond. Members of the congregation who forget to bring food are urged to make a monetary contribution to help feed the hungry.
There is a lesson here for all of us and it is something, we all can hope, the children will remember all of their lives, when they recall that toting bags of groceries has helped others.
I hope you will forgive me if I end with a recommendation that those who can or will (regardless of religion, because, in addition to the message, it is beautiful literature) read, in whatever translation, the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25, beginning at the 31st verse.
Then, let us ask ourselves what we have done and can do to help those in need.
©2003 Community Newspaper Group
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