Monday, February 24, 2014

walking to learn about hunger and homelessness

On Saturday Eliza and I headed uptown with our friend Christiana (visiting from NY with her family) to participate in the Good Works Walk.  Good Works is a local non-profit that works to feed and shelter people who are experiencing homelessness. This walk is their biggest fundraiser, and this year it fell on a beautiful warmish day, just a week after our last snowstorm and days after its melting - we really lucked out! 

This event offered three different walks this year: a mini-walk, a walk across town to Timothy House, the shelter, to learn about how an individual or family might find themselves seeking services there, and a walk around campus that focused on food security and hunger issues.  We chose this last one, which also took us down along the swollen Hocking River.

Mary, Eliza and a whole lotta carrots
 Mary N. heads an organization called Community Food Initiatives (CFI) which addresses the problems of food security in our county.  They focus on access and education: school gardens, teen farming and marketing, cooking and nutrition classes, and the ubiquitous Donation Station, which is a food and money donation drop-off location at the farmer's market.  The food donated there reaches people at the Timothy House as well as other free-meal and food pantry locations.  Mary is funny and dynamic and livened up a serious topic with a couple of games.  Above, Eliza is participating in "How Dense Are You?" which looked at how many calories - often "empty" calories - are found in processed foods.  Eliza had to guess how many carrots you'd have to eat to equal the number of calories in a piece of carrot cake (see the pile? about 5 pounds!).

Another game illustrated how interconnected  and dependent on each other we all are in our community - farmers, consumers, students, the elderly, business owners.  

making a web
The founder of Good Works, who welcomed us with a huge smile and the confession that it was his 56th birthday, talked about being in the hallway of life, and looking at all of the doors that were before us as we walk down that hallway.  Some of them say "hungry, and you gave me food", or "naked, and you clothed me". He urged us to open doors, saying "The hallway is not a destination! You aren't meant to linger in the hall, go and start opening doors!" 

The morning was a call to action, a call to be learners, a call to open ourselves to more love!  We finished the morning with rice and beans, served by boy scouts, and in the company of volunteers, residents of Timothy House and community members.

I can't think of a better way to spend a morning out in the world.  I'm feeling grateful for the company I had on the walk and for the sponsorship of friends and family who were with us in spirit and through their donations!

No comments: