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Detours – Merlin Gonzales


We had a great walk yesterday from FHL to Cleo’s Bodega and to “You Feed Them” MFP.

Halfway to our first stop, a local resident waved and stopped her car to say Hi. She told me that her mother passed away. We detoured to a nearby parking lot and prayed for her.

We had a great visit to Cleo’s Bodega, a grocery store with Cafe. This establishment is needed and a solution to food access in the local area.

Our next stop was at You Feed Them Missional Food Pantry where FHL’s MFP Director, Lydia Davis shared with the walkers about the difference of this kind of food pantry as compared with traditional pantry.

Today, Wednesday the 24th, Neil walked with me from Shiloh MBC to Community Cupboard food pantry. I had the honor to help it get started a few years ago.

There were areas along 38th St. that do not have sidewalks., dangerous for walkers since this street is a major street. We walked on the grass and noticed foot tracks that are being used by people who do not have transportation. On our way there, we had a detour. A bridge was under construction and there’s no way for us to cross it.

We decided walk through a small neighborhood next to a railroad track. Fortunately, we saw a clearing in the middle of thick bushes and were able to cross the railroad tracks going to the main road.

This journey today is eye opening for me. I experienced being hungry and experienced the process of accessing food without your own transportation.

The Pantry Director at the Cupboard was very kind to show us their operation; she had chilled bottled water for us to take. This pantry serves 1600 families per month. They have a very good system, computerized check ins and large facility.

After the interview, I felt tired and ready to take a nap. I thought about big lunch but I cannot; I have to wait till tomorrow morning. I know I will have breakfast again tomorrow which is an assurance for me. But for the food insecure, they may have to allocate their resources to make sure they have enough for the next days. For the seniors who are on fixed income, it is always a decision to see how they would spend their money – prescription drugs, other necessities or healthy food.

There are detours in our lives and we never know when it may happen to us. Many people do not have enough reserves to be sustainable for several weeks if they got cut-off from their jobs, sudden sickness, etc.

Detours in life happens. We can prepare but for the food insecure population, it’s a matter of “Do we have enough for today, just for today.”

Merlin GonzalesDetours – Merlin Gonzales

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