The First Work of Mercy: To Feed Those Who Are Hungry.

Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry, and gave you food? [Matthew 25 v37]

The mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality with which he reveals his love as of that of a father or a mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that this is a “visceral” love. It gushes forth from the depths naturally, full of tenderness and compassion, indulgence and mercy. Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus.

Type ‘what does it mean to be hungry?’ in to Google and you will retrieve a host of websites telling you all about diets and dieting, whether for beauty, for health, for sports, various, or body-building.

What does it means to go hungry?… Why you are always hungry?… Is being hungry bad? … do I have to be hungry to lose weight? Even in our rich society, where most of us have more than enough food, and where many tons of food are thrown away by households every week, we are afraid of being hungry!

DID YOU KNOW:

Almost 50% of the total amount of food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes. We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year in the UK, and more than half of this is food and drink we could have eaten.  [ www.lovefoodhatewaste.com ]

Wasting this food costs the average household £470 a year, rising to £700 for a family with children, the equivalent of around £60 a month.

To understand more about food poverty in 21st century Britain, read the reports at: http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/breadline/read

Every city and every town in our country today has a food bank, and most have several , as well as other places where people can get free food, or a meal. Food banks need donations of non-perishable food, long-life milk, and cooking oil, as well as toiletries. The biggest provider of foodbanks is the Trussell Trust: http://www.trusselltrust.org/

To find out where the food banks are in your town or city, google ‘food bank ‘ and the name of the place, eg Food Bank Lincoln will take you to a list with maps that includes Lincoln Community Larder, and the Trussell Trust food bank

What can we do?

Volunteer at a food bank, collect food for a foodbank, start a foodbank if there isn’t one and you believe there is a need …. http://www.ruralcc.org.uk/uploads/food-banks-sept-13.pdf

Volunteer at a winter shelter or night shelter. Could your church hall host a winter shelter?

Celebrate the two CAFOD fast days – Lent and Harvest – by offering a hunger lunch in the church hall – soup and bread [no butter!!], or bread and cheese for a £5 donation; by inviting people to join a sponsored fast for CAFOD; by inviting a guest to speak at Mass, or after Mass, about hunger among housebound elderly people, or hunger among school children, or food v fuel poverty in winter.

Church Action on Poverty – Poverty Sunday – Sunday 7th February 2016

Learn about social eating projects in your city or town – volunteer – start an open kitchen in your parish!!

In Nottingham, the Salaam Shalom Kitchen – The Bridge Centre, Gregory Boulevard – Wednesday 6-8pm – is joint project started by the Jewish and Muslim communities. All welcome!

In Leicester check out: http://www.oneroof.org.uk/hot-meal-today for places that offer food and friendship.

Try saying grace before meals when you have a family gathering or on special occasions:

For food in a world where many walk in hunger;

For faith in a world where many walk in fear;

For friends in a world where many walk alone;

We give you thanks, O Lord.

Bless, O Lord, this food we are about to eat; may it be good for our body and soul; and if there be any poor creature hungry or thirsty walking along the road, send them into us that we can share the food with them, just as You share your gifts with all of us.

Give us O God of the nourishing meal, well-being to the body, the frame of the soul.

Give us O God of the honey-sweet milk, the sap and the savour of the fragrant farms.

(Carmina Gaedelica).

The above article is downloadable here:

Feeding the Hungry – Word

Feeding the Hungry – PDF

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