The Jubilee Year of Mercy jubilates on and so does our look at the Corporal Works of Mercy. Today we’re exploring what “feed the hungry” means.
“Really?” you may be thinking to yourself, “What part of ‘feed the hungry’ do you find confusing?” And that’s true. It seems pretty straightforward. But we thought it couldn’t hurt to state the obvious and perhaps look at those words from some other angles.
So if you’re already donating food, money or time and feel like you want to do more—or if you simply feel moved to do something different—here are a few ideas:
Feed people through food pantries, soup kitchens and meal programs.
Odds are good that your parish already has a relationship with a community organization dedicated to feeding the hungry, and that they are always in need of fresh supplies and volunteers. Get in touch, find out what they’re most in need of on their shelves and help them out next time you go shopping. For an additionally rewarding experience, you can also try putting in some time stocking shelves, sorting donated food or serving meals. Also, volunteering with a community program that deliver meals to the elderly can feed the hungry in more ways than one—by providing food and by giving someone lonely a few minutes with a friendly face at the front door.
Feed generous people who don’t take time for themselves.
The folks who staff food pantries, soup kitchens, crisis pregnancy centers and other such selfless endeavors need energy. Dropping off lunch or some nutritious snacks for busy volunteers and staff who are focused on doing for others can be a welcome gesture.
Feed the people who feed your family.
From the pastor who needs to be saved from his own cooking to the less-than-exorbitantly paid people in the teachers lounge at your children’s Catholic school, if you look around, you’re sure to find someone who can benefit from your effort to double a recipe here and there, prepare a few lunches or drop off some of those nutritious snacks mentioned above.
Those are just some thoughts based on that first-blush reading of “feed the hungry.” But there is also the kind of hunger people may not even know they have—hunger for the truth of Jesus Christ and His Church.
Feed people an earful of truth.
Catholic radio stations pour spiritual food out onto the airwaves 24 hours a day. By donating to their pledge drives and promoting their existence, you may just play a role in saving a soul on the verge of starvation.
Give people food for thought.
Those last three suggestions most certainly overlap with the Spiritual Works of Mercy but that’s pretty interesting. Isn’t it? It proves the point that mercy is a quality that resonates throughout life, no matter where or how it is expressed.
Promote the ultimate recipe book.
Encourage people to read the Bible. Ask your parish priest or diocesan chancery office if there is a program you can support that gets Bibles to people who might otherwise not be able to own one.
Here’s to a merciful day for all of us!
Need more ideas on how to help others in this Year of Mercy? We've got the goods!
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