Thoughtful Living: Pack an Extra Lunch

Thoughtful Living: Pack an Extra Lunch

A few weeks ago, I started packing an extra lunch to give to the homeless guys on the block that I adopted in NYC.  There are usually two or three guys on that block.

I started packing an extra lunch, just to up my thoughtful giving game.  Instead of giving the guys a little treat pack, I would give them a meal that I made in my own kitchen.  This was about sharing the blessing I’ve been given.  If God deemed that my refrigerator and pantry be filled with so much food (more food than I can consume myself), then I should share the bounty.

When I changed my diet a couple of months ago, I noticed there were certain items I could not donate to the neighborhood food pantry.  It made me ponder what I should do with all of this food I can’t eat anymore.  That’s when I realized I could cook up a few meals and give it to my guys during the week.

I have a bread machine with plenty of flour.  I didn’t know what I could do with all of that flour after my lifestyle changed.  Then I realized, I can bake bread for them.

A few days after I came up with the idea of making complete meals for the guys, I saw a Facebook posting about someone who used to do the same thing.

When the writer of the story was a young boy, his mother used to send him to school with an extra lunch for one of the boys in his class.  She told him, “Give him the lunch before school.”  He didn’t understand why.  There were times he would hand the boy the lunch during lunch hour.

He didn’t realize until he was older that the reason why his mother asked him to give the boy the lunch before school was so that no one would know his situation.  It was a way of hiding that boy’s poverty from their classmates.  Kids can be cruel.  His mother wanted to protect the boy from that cruelty he would have received from other kids by receiving this charity.

The author realized the invaluable lesson she was instilling in him.  There are kids today that are humiliated because they can’t afford a hot lunch.  It is even exacerbated by the school system when children have their hot meals taken away and have it replaced by a cheese sandwich.

A bunch of idiots on a school board decided to institute those rules of cheese sandwiches when parents failed to pay their children’s lunch bills.  It’s the school system humiliating the child in front of all of the other children, because their parents  are not paying the school lunch bill.  They’re punishing the child for their parents’ failure.

It’s not right.

Imagine changing that narrative if you are a parent.  What if you sent an extra lunch with your child, just in case there was another child that was subjected to the cheese sandwich?  What if you sent them with extra food for those children whose only food they will receive that day are from those school meals?  There are some schools that have a private food pantry for impoverished children who are from homes that cannot afford food.

It is private so that other children do not know who is shopping that food pantry.

It is a shame that children have to fear other children finding out that they are starving.  Children with the wealth of food on their tables should share with those who do not have that same blessing.  This is a human quality that should be instilled in each and every one of us.  We should not feel ashamed or overprotective of sharing our blessings with others.

I’ve seen people repulsed when I stop to give food to the homeless guys or stop to talk to them.  Someone was telling me recently that he was out with a woman when they were stopped by a homeless man asking for assistance.  He went to give him the few dollars he had in his pocket.  The homeless man accidentally brushed up against the woman and she freaked out.  She was so disgusted she said she had to go home and shower to get the homeless off of her.

When he told me this story, my mouth literally dropped.  He re-emphasized the most important point, “They are human beings, too.”

We live in a world where there is so much abundance.  It is unfathomable that anyone should go hungry in this country.  How is it that we cannot share this wealth of food with everyone?

If you’re a parent, teach your kids a valuable lesson about being a thoughtful and giving human being.  Send them to school with an extra lunch for those kids that are hungry.  Get the other families to do it, too.  If there’s no private food pantry, get the school on board to start one.  If there is one in your child’s school, donate to it.

Kids that don’t have to worry about food have a better chance at succeeding in school. When they are focused on where their next meal is coming from or the fact that they are starving, they will fail in school.  Even in colleges, this is an issue.  Don’t think that just because someone got into college that they are not homeless or starving.  They are still trying to better their situation, but it becomes difficult when they are looking at the clock hoping they get to the shelter in time or the fact that they are starving.  When all you can think about is food, it makes it harder to concentrate on your studies.

It takes a village to help raise each and every child.  We need to change the current narrative and stop being so divided.  It is small changes like this that will help move our future as a society in the right direction.

For the adults, pack an extra lunch.  You never know who you’ll encounter that may be hungry and starving.  Maybe you already know someone that could use that extra lunch you’ve packed.  There may even be someone in your own workplace or church congregation that can’t afford food.

Donate to your local food pantry.  If there’s no community food pantry, start a giving box where people can put food in the pantry box.  People that need the food can take what they want.  This is about helping each other.  No one in America should go hungry.  Do your part and share your blessings with others.  Not everyone gets that same blessing of a hot meal three times a day.  Some people are praying for what you take for granted.