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No Hunger Pangs! – Day Five of the 2020 Hunger Challenge – Eldon Kibbey

Friday was the best day of the week! No hunger pangs! I started the day with coffee at LePeep, where we meet for CBMC Bible Study every Friday morning. The coffee seemed to meet my need for something in my stomach, so I was satisfied when I came home to work on a writing project. That took my attention for more than an hour. Then it was time for our CBMC Carmel meeting on Zoom, which was a great interaction! The stimulating conversation kept my mind off food over the lunch hour, and I was excited about going to my church to cut grass this afternoon.

Two-and-half hours on a 60-inch X-Mark is a blast! We were talking about goal achievement in our Carmel meeting, and the importance of both satisfaction and performance in finishing a goal. Many times, goals may be achieved, but they aren’t satisfying, because the work is drudgery. Our coach was emphasizing the importance of making the work fun. That’s exactly what happened this afternoon with the goal of cutting the church lawn. I was focused on performing well, but I had fun doing it!

I had two large cups of ice water which slacked my thirst and I sensed no hunger at all. Of course, I was tired by the time I was done, and a cool shower revived me. Then, all of a sudden, I was hungry-tired! Fortunately, it was dinner time, and my wife had fixed a nourishing meal, which I enjoyed! I celebrated the completion of the Hunger Challenge with pecan pie ala-mode!

Then I was exhausted! Watching a Hallmark Movie revived me enough to write this final report.

When you receive this final post, the volunteers for Faith, Hope & Love will be preparing to serve about 100 families at the Drive-thru Missional Food Pantry at the old Starbucks location in Castleton. We can expect about 25 people to pray to receive Christ, as they prepare to receive their food. These people have humbled themselves to realize they are not in control of their lives during the pandemic, so they have reached out for free food. Many of them are receptive to receive the gospel and to ask God to take control of their lives, providing the hope that only Christ can give, during this difficult time.

You can help out by praying for the less fortunate, as they seek the necessities of life.

If you would like to volunteer to serve, or to get your church or small group involved in serving, contact Merlin Gonzales [email protected]

Donations are greatly appreciated and will help us continue this valuable effort for our community. Donate

Thank you

Eldon

Eldon KibbeyNo Hunger Pangs! – Day Five of the 2020 Hunger Challenge – Eldon Kibbey
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Meetings, Meetings, Meetings – Day Four of the 2020 Hunger Challenge – Eldon Kibbey

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Thursday is often what I call a perma-meeting day – that’s a day filled with one meeting after another. My morning was like that, today, from 6:30am – 12:30pm, with an hour break in the middle. The afternoon had a two-hour meeting, and we had a small group meeting this evening at church. Meetings are great for me because they distract me from thinking about food!

The toughest times today were the half hour waiting at Panera for my afternoon meeting, and the drive home from the meeting at church. I was early at Panera and tried to pray, but the hunger pangs were distracting. It made me think that the idea of fasting for prayer does not really work for me. The idea of praying so intensely that I’m willing to skip a meal makes a whole lot more sense!

My Panera partner hadn’t had lunch so I told him to go ahead and eat in front of me. He felt like he owed me something, but it was not a problem at all, because we were engaged in conversation, so I wasn’t thinking about food. The drive home from church in the evening made me think about having a snack when I got home, knowing I couldn’t have one. Interestingly, when I got home, my mind was on other things, and I didn’t even think about food!

COVID-19 has kept me pretty sequestered, so the face-to-face meetings were unusual. Because I haven’t been driving to meetings, I haven’t expended as much energy as I have in past years, so I haven’t gotten as tired.

One of my Timothys who is doing the 0-0-1 Challenge this week has been much more active, so he wore himself out with strenuous activity on Tuesday. It makes me think of those in third-world countries who have to spend their days doing something to generate their one meal of the day. It must be exhausting!

Who am I to even be thinking that this Hunger Challenge means something? It is a shadow of the way of life of the people we need to be concerned about! But, in some meager way, this makes me more aware of their plight, and maybe it helps you to have some empathy for them. That is the hope, anyway!

Thanks for reading this! Please pray for those who are less fortunate!

Blessings

Eldon

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Image source: FHL at Rotary Club Meeting

Eldon KibbeyMeetings, Meetings, Meetings – Day Four of the 2020 Hunger Challenge – Eldon Kibbey
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Hunger Awareness Week 2020: Day 3 – Aarik Williams

Hello, friends!

So yesterday (Wednesday) was Day 3 of the 0-0-1 Hunger Challenge (dinner only), and it was surprisingly not much demanding from a physical standpoint. It appears my body is adjusting to its reality that it is only being fed once daily.

I spent the morning going through some items that I am needing to purge, and it wasn’t so much physically demanding as mentally/emotionally demanding as there was a lot of decision making involved. I did hit a wall after an hour or so of earnest effort, and I’m certain that working with limited energy played at least somewhat of a role in that.

By the time I got to the pantry in the early afternoon, I had braced myself to jump back into my reporting work that is needing to get wrapped up, and I did some. (For those of you who may not know, my professional background is in Data Analytics, so this is actually an area of strength of mine.) However, what I was much more sensitive to today was the fact that I was working on something demanding without much encouragement by virtue of the fact that I was the only one in the building.

It’s funny, in the first few months of our pantry opening (we began in early May), we had volunteers present throughout the week helping us prepare for each upcoming Saturday. My focus was much heavier on equipping volunteers to help us with our processes, and frankly to get to know them and ask how I could pray for them given my gratitude for their critical contributions to our weekly preparation.

As the weeks progressed, our processes improved and I had more projects hitting my plate that required my specific focus. My attitude toward having volunteers present throughout the week began souring as I didn’t want the distraction from my ability to do my own work. Well, just a few short weeks later, I am noticing that I am having fewer and fewer “distractions” during the week, but I am experiencing a loneliness I haven’t had to this point and am struggling somewhat with focus and motivation.

While I have long pegged myself as someone who would not thrive in a regular work-from-home arrangement, I am seeing even more clearly that I simply wouldn’t operate well working alone in any environment, regardless of the physical location, home or otherwise. And as this may not be the most earth-shattering revelation, when I think about my attitude over the social state of our society over the past four months, there was a much more painful conviction there.

You see, life wasn’t exactly going the best for me at the time of the coronavirus bullying its way on to the scene back in March. I had been working part-time and enjoying myself with that work, but I knew it was only a stopgap for a period. Despite an interview at Salesforce back in February that I had crushed, the reward was radio silence for a role I would’ve been perfect for.

My Pa (Grandpa) passed away in early March due to COVID before we knew to call it that; we only knew that he was taken from us very suddenly and didn’t know why. It was particularly hard for me as he and I were really building some momentum in our relationship, and I was enjoying both spending the time and getting to know him more.

My faith journey had been largely put on pause for a few months following my reading of Matthew, Mark and Luke in December and January, as I was tired of Jesus telling me that all the knowledge I had gained from reading the Old Testament in 2019 was insufficient for living my life in a way that was pleasing to God. As if I needed any reminder considering my divorce was official in February.

But you know, in mid-March I picked my Bible back up and started reading the book of John, and Jesus became more encouraging again. I recommitted to memorizing Bible verses again, something I had really poured into from Oct-Jan which was so good for me. I took a flyer on some work through an app called TaskRabbit, and I not only started making better money, but was getting exercise doing yardwork for people and was able to re-engage in listening to the Bema Discipleship podcast, something that really ministers to my soul as I love its academic approach to understanding the Bible more fully.

By the time Easter rolled around in mid-April, it was clear that God had done enough work in my heart that I was able to receive Jesus’s death on the cross as the ultimate expression of love, not a reminder of everything I had done wrong to put him there. And it was only the following week that I started working at our Drive-Thru Missional Food Pantry, being surrounded by people who are truly committed to their faith and regularly witnessing God showing up in some very clear and powerful ways in order to make our operation possible.

So wouldn’t you know it, my life actually got better in pretty short order following the arrival of COVID on to the scene. And I quickly became tacitly smug about the fact that my life as a Christian was getting better while those of other Christians were worsening, attributing it to my study of God’s Word and my openness to His lessons for me. If only they had been interested in pursuing transformation instead of just going to church. If only they had been doing the hard work as a Christian like me.

But as of late, despite my continued learning and countless positive experiences with God these last few months, life has become harder. It is clear I am entering a season of transition, and I don’t know where life will be leading in some important ways. There are some things I’ve known I would eventually need to tend to that are starting to come home to roost. And so much of that confidence I’ve built up in “my being a good Christian” has been humbled in short order, as I have quickly been forced to realize not just how little control I truly have over my own life, but also how temperamental and resentful I become over that fact. Not exactly the mark of a “good Christian”.

And on that note, I looked at a picture we recently hung on the wall here at the pantry in a much different way yesterday. It is a picture that I’ve seen for years in attending Faith Hope & Love events, but one I never paid this much attention to. The fact that the people in that picture are actual people. The fact that the people in that picture were in need of help. And the fact that the people in the picture would’ve never been helped if they had to depend on a “good Christian” like me to start up a program like Faith Hope & Love has, training churches to launch their own food pantries across the city of Indianapolis as a means of meeting the real needs of their communities.

When I drove home last night, looking forward to a meal that I knew would be plentiful and satisfying, there was a homeless man asking for help at a stoplight along the way. While I gave him the only food I had in my car, a granola bar, for which he was sincerely thankful, I realized that this gesture, something I used to pat myself on the back for a few months ago, wasn’t really helping this man that much.

Rest assured, I’ve been making it a point to eat a salad and a fruit salad regularly this week, knowing that I was only going to have one meal. You’d better believe I was going to make it count. But this man doesn’t have that luxury. He is at the mercy of whatever others were willing to spare to him yesterday. And probably today. And probably tomorrow. Unlike me. Who is just doing this challenge as an exercise in discipline and awareness, and am ultimately not suffering but am really just whining.

So that was Day 3. Not much physically demanding but certainly spiritually convicting. I’ll be sure to share Day 4 tomorrow morning as you’d better believe the hits have kept on coming!

Aarik WilliamsHunger Awareness Week 2020: Day 3 – Aarik Williams
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Hunger Awareness Week 2020: Day 2 – Aarik Williams

Good morning, friends!

So as expected, Day 2 of this 0-0-1 Hunger Challenge (dinner only) caught up to me more severely yesterday. I didn’t enjoy being around myself and am thankful that there weren’t many people subjected to being around me, either!

Things were fine in the morning, but by 1-1:30 my energy was spent. Here at FHL, our network pantries meet at one of our churches and divide all the food we receive from Midwest Food Bank twice a month on Tuesdays, and yesterday happened to be one of those days. The picture below is the truckload that we were blessed to bring back to our pantry here in Castleton. We had a great haul of canned goods, bread, dairy variety packs, cereal and more!

As you might suspect, unloading these items by yourself is somewhat physically demanding. Add then to that fact that I had to spend a lot of time removing items from the boxes seen here as well as boxes already in our refrigerators in order to make everything fit (good problem to have!), and I would’ve been ready for a great lunch afterward!

Problem is that I wasn’t able to eat lunch because of this challenge. And rest assured I was thinking about that the whole time I was doing the work, that I wasn’t going to be able to have lunch after I finished. Which then put me in a bad mood about why I was having to do all the work myself during this one ridiculous week where I was intentionally going undernourished.
I certainly had a series of frustrations surface with my thoughts toward God in the morning/early afternoon. The purpose of fasting to get you to think more about God certainly worked for me, but none of those thoughts were fun or pleasant!

My remaining assignment was a mental one of working to compile data and finish some reporting that we require of all pantries in the FHL Network. As this is something I am going through for the first time, there are some things I am working to invent along the way so the process is much easier in the future.
Needless to say I was entirely ineffective in that process after finishing unloading all of our food. I ended up going home and taking a 2-hour nap, while justifying my unanswered calls and texts were better for everyone else not having to endure my surliness, anyway.

I was blessed to have a great dinner while reconnecting with a dear, old friend last night! Funny how my spirits picked up after a good meal and sharing in a valued relationship. Enjoying our great conversation and that nice meal completely took my mind off the Hunger Challenge during that period.

I can tell you from experience that we see our share of homeless people visit our pantry alone, and that our MREs and other ready-to-eat items aren’t as satisfying as a restaurant burrito. I honestly don’t even want to begin to imagine what it must be like eating alone and simply for sustenance on a regular basis.
Can’t necessarily say I’m “looking forward” to what today will bring, but it is my prayer that God continues revealing to me how He wants my heart to grow for Him and the underserved in our community and society.

Aarik WilliamsHunger Awareness Week 2020: Day 2 – Aarik Williams
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Hunger Awareness Week 2020: Day 1- Aarik Williams

Good morning, friends!

So I won’t lie, this is not a week I am excited about or looking forward to continuing through this Friday. This week is Hunger Awareness Week here in Indianapolis, a tradition we are in our 3rd year of promoting here at Faith Hope and Love Community, Inc.

Much of the week is our Hunger Challenge from Mon-Fri of only eating one meal a day, namely dinner. While it may be one thing to do this on occasion during the week, having to do it throughout the week because you have no choice is another matter, especially for someone who enjoys food as much as I do!

There a couple objectives here, the first being to raise awareness of the fact that nearly one in 5 in Indianapolis is food insecure, and that number is somehow worse for children!

From HealthyPeople.gov:
“The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) divides food insecurity into the following 2 categories:
Low food security: “Reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake.”
Very low food security: “Reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.”

We have a lot of people who are either going hungry or have very limited access (and likely knowhow to use) to fresh, healthy foods, which obviously has all types of harmful impacts on children and adults alike with their effectiveness in their relationships and work.

The other objective is to increase our sympathy and empathy for those for whom this isn’t a 5-day event. See attached the one meal I spent a good 15 minutes preparing yesterday. I was looking forward to it all day, praying that it would be enough to fill me up after not eating until dinner and that it will hold me over until tonight for my next meal.

As I finished my salad, I was already getting a signal from my stomach that I should stop eating, but I absolutely plowed through knowing I wouldn’t eat again for another 24 hours. It made me stop and consider what if I weren’t eating reasonably healthy food, but simply whatever I was able to get ? Would I have exercised some “discipline” to refrain from eating too much unhealthy food, or would I have eaten everything I could, not knowing where my next meal is coming from?

I was irritable during the day not because of legitimate hunger, but simply because I wasn’t allowed to eat. On Day 1. I am certain I will have worse uglinesses about myself, my thought processes and my feelings toward others revealed to me and to share with you as this week progresses.

Aarik WilliamsHunger Awareness Week 2020: Day 1- Aarik Williams
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Valued Relationships – Day Three of the 2020 Hunger Challenge – Eldon Kibbey

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All’s well that ends well! It seemed like a long afternoon, but pizza for dinner was worth waiting for!

The morning with nothing to eat, but coffee to drink, went well because of back-to-back two-hour Zoom meetings with trusted associates. One of the things I love about discipleship is that the interaction energizes me! Even if I am having a down day, a meeting with a Timothy will jack me up! Too bad I didn’t have a Timothy this afternoon!

After energizing meetings, it was difficult to get motivated to look at my To Do list and get back on track. It eventually happened, but some snacks would have helped!

I’m reminded of earlier days, when I would have lunch with a buddy, and get so engrossed in the conversation that I couldn’t remember what I ate for lunch, when my wife asked me that evening!

The other thing that happened today was that my Indian pastor friend decided to fast and pray, and to institute a fast every Tuesday with their prayer partners! These are the people who are providing food for the people who are starving because of the pandemic. How humbling is that! Our meager efforts here are causing the people who are doing the real work to deprive themselves of food for the sake of others! That’s heroic!

If you would like to help that ministry, reply to this email, and I will connect you with them.

Blessings on each of you who reads this!

Eldon

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Eldon KibbeyValued Relationships – Day Three of the 2020 Hunger Challenge – Eldon Kibbey
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Walking Hungry – Merlin Gonzales

My knapsack was ready in the morning with two cold water bottles, a cooling towel, a face mask, a change of socks, and a MacBook.

I started walking from a Castleton pantry to a Nora pantry, about 5.5 miles. I want to experience how it feels to walk from a food pantry to another with an empty stomach.

At one of the intersections on 82nd Street, I noticed a woman in the media writing something on brown cardboard. I said Hi to her as I pass by and she said Hi. A few seconds later, she said, “Be careful out there.”

That prompted me to go back to have a quick chat with her. I found out that she’s been asking for money for six months and that she has to be at her “station” early enough so others won’t take her spot. She said that she needs to do it because she needs at least $16 every day to pay for her pain management/medication due to drug abuse in the past. She cannot have a real job, because it would take two weeks to receive her pay and she cannot afford not to have her daily medication, so she is stuck in that lifestyle for the moment. Furthermore, she said that her son does not know she is begging for money for a living. I told her that there’s a food pantry not too far from her spot. She said that it must be the same pantry where the lady delivers some food to her on Saturdays. She rides 2 – 3 buses from her home to her spot, and it takes 2 – 3 hours one way so she cannot receive perishable items. Plus, she can only receive a few items as she pointed to her blue knapsack. I prayed for her and her son before proceeding to my mission.

As the sun got hotter, I slowed down my pace to make sure I can get to my destination and maybe back. I drank a little water to quench my thirst, but not too much since I started to feel that I will have to go to a restroom soon, but there’s no establishment closeby. If you do not have a vehicle, you have to plan and become aware of your environment and, you need a lot of extra time to travel.

I did not make it to my destination (about half a mile away) because I have to stop by Starbucks to get a wifi connection for my online meeting at noon. After a few hours, I asked my wife to pick me up; I did not have enough energy to walk back. As soon as we got home, I fired up the grill to cook some chicken wings, zucchini, and red bell pepper.

As I was devouring the food, I noticed I repeatedly say thank you God for food. I really, really appreciate the food!

The second day of the Hunger Challenge taught me about the conveniences in life that we neglect to appreciate, some insight of life in the streets, and learned to appreciate food beyond just satisfying my appetite.

Merlin GonzalesWalking Hungry – Merlin Gonzales
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Time with people, nature and God – Merlin Gonzales

My first day into Hunger Challenge was quite different than what I expected.

After a cup of coffee and tendering my garden, I thought of visiting an Indiana Nature Park after my morning meditations; I can still work, meet with people online, and enjoy nature all at the same time.

The idea was agreeable with my wife so we jumped in the car and headed to Portland Arch Nature Preserve in Attica, IN. I was able to hike and witnessed some wonderful sandstone formations. It seemed to me that I was more sensitive to the nature surrounding me. The colors of the rock and the sounds of the whispering wind against the leaves were succinct and clear. A few times, I felt closer to God as I observe nature and the wonder of the silence of the forest.

I was surprised that in spite of an empty stomach, I had the energy to continue on (See attached picture). On the way home, I was on conference call for the 5th time; thank you to my patient wife for driving us around. As soon as I got home, I felt very hungry (I have not had any meals the entire day yet). We had hamburger meat in the refrigerator and within a few minutes, my wife mixed the meat with some seasoning and I slapped them quickly on the grill.

It was such a relief to finally eat. I felt so much better and started to think clearly. I wonder how my 2nd day would look like and how I will feel. I hope to be able to sustain my energy as I was planning to walk from a food pantry to another with empty stomach.

Merlin GonzalesTime with people, nature and God – Merlin Gonzales
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FHL Week 2019 : Community Gathering

We touched many people at the ending of FHL Hunger Awareness Week with our Community Gathering at the Indiana Interchurch Center including prayers, recognizing the services of missional food pantries and fellowship.

Thank you to all the volunteers, sponsors and friends who prayed and supported the FHL Community and Hunger Awareness Week 2019.

.

mereedFHL Week 2019 : Community Gathering
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Hills and Valleys – Merlin Gonzales

Hills and valleys

My body was adjusting to my eating schedule this week. I was not craving lunch but dinner time was always hard since I eat my one meal for the day during breakfast.

My hunger experience last year taught me to be more mindful of myself. This year’s hunger (0-0-1) challenge was more tolerable than last year. I did not pick fight with my wife and I learned how to cope better with hunger. I became more aware of my surroundings as well.

Yesterday, 16 children walked with us. I have to be mindful of our surroundings to make sure the children are safe walking in the streets. We started counting our steps as we were getting close to our destination since the children were getting tired and 1 of them was getting hungry.

As I was writing this, I was reminded of a young mother I met at one of the food pantries we helped started. She was a single mother trying to calm down her child as she was approaching the pantry. I was also reminded of a parent in food pantry line who was trying to calm down her children because they were hungry. It’s hard to calm down a hungry child.

I woke up a little late this morning, probably eating less and walking everyday were catching up on me. It was hard for me to focus this morning but after a cup of coffee and good breakfast, I was ready for the day.

Today, Aarik and Sandy joined me. Also Mike, Bruce and Wade came in a truck to make sure that we are safe. On our way to our destination, we met several local residents. Greg, was a neighborhood leader in the past. He said that he grew up in the same house he is living now. He takes care of his yard and is proud of his neighborhood. We prayed for him.

Next, we met Jimmy who used to work for an automotive company many years ago. He was making good money but was cut off from his job and started using drugs. He is still hopeful that he would be able to start a small business growing weeds that would also help him calm down and relax.

As we were halfway to our destination, a person said that hunger is for real in their neighborhood. He said we are brave to walk the neighborhood since it is the most dangerous place in Indianapolis and in the nation.

Upon reaching our destination, I Googled which neighborhood in the US is most dangerous or violent. I found our that the neighborhood we passed is #2 in violent crime in the entire US!

We decided to walk back after a 3.2 miles walk. It was getting hot and our legs were starting to get tired. I was glad that I had 2 companions walking with me today, not only to keep me company but also for security.

This week has been a journey of hills and valleys. There were times that I was joyful and full of zest, sometimes I was down and discouraged. I have seen intimidating people and I have seen encouraging people. I have seen many abandoned houses and well maintained properties.

We encounter opportunities and griefs in our short lives here on earth. Our lives are fragile and every life is precious to God. Everyone matters.

This hunger challenge was rewarding and challenging. I am glad it is over (for now) but I am also sad because I will miss the God-encounters along the way and the people I met in the streets. I will miss the faces of local residents smiling and waving at me as they encourage me that what I am doing is appreciated. But I know I will not miss the growling stomach, the loss of energy and the pain of hunger.

I thank God for the opportunity that He provided me by experiencing how it feels to be hungry. I thank God for His provision and protection. I thank God for the different organizations that help the food insecure. I thank God for you for supporting me in this journey.

Thank you for those who have contributed financially. If you haven’t yet, please prayerfully consider giving to help those in need.

DONATE HERE

God bless you,
Merlin

Merlin GonzalesHills and Valleys – Merlin Gonzales
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Detours – Merlin Gonzales

Detours

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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Hunger Challenge: Day Four – Eldon Kibbey

Hunger Challenge 2019

Day Four

This was a pretty good day! I think the 800 calorie cookie that I had for dessert after lunch yesterday, was enough to tide me over till dinner time today! Hunger was not the issue today, but lack of energy was! I had some good meetings, and felt good while I was engaged with someone, but I didn’t get much work done in between.

I started the day with a friend at Panera, so I had plenty of coffee to get me started. I was successful in getting some writing done after he left, but didn’t accomplish much until two afternoon meetings. The nap around noon was very appealing!

I was finally able to finish a project after a nice dinner on the back porch. Haven’t these last few days been delightful?

I don’t know about you, but I am energized by meaningful conversation. Maybe that’s why I love discipleship so much! I can come into an Operation Timothy meeting feeling tired and lacking motivation, but leave full of energy and enthusiasm! I don’t feel hungry during the meeting but often have a cinnamon disk as I drive away. I have been missing those this week because I didn’t think they were appropriate if I’m restricting myself to one meal a day. I have sworn off snacks this week and that has been a little tough.

Well, one more day and I can return to normal!

I feel for those for whom normal is my last four days. I am sure I could get used to it, but it would not be my desire. I would like for everyone to have the freedom and the resources to choose to eat when they want to, rather than forced to eat when they have to, or scrounge for food just to survive.

Please pray for the food-insecure people and for Faith, Hope & Love as we seek to “Shorten the Line.” Your generous gifts to FHL would help us achieve that!

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Blessings

Eldon

Eldon KibbeyHunger Challenge: Day Four – Eldon Kibbey
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Hunger Challenge: Day Three – Eldon Kibbey

Hunger Challenge 2019

Day Three

Today was a great day, although it started slowly! I had difficulty getting up, and traded some of my exercise time and my treadmill time for an extra half hour of sleep. I am attributing that tiredness to weight-loss more than hunger. When I weighed this morning, I had hit a low point that I haven’t seen for 30 or 40 years! I can’t remember when I have weighed that little! I never got that low on Weight Watchers, which was 13 years ago.

I had a cup of coffee at McDonald’s for morning meetings, then switched my eating schedule to 1:00pm for a pre-scheduled two-hour business lunch with CBMC associates. That was an easy choice since someone else was paying for it! I figured that was pretty realistic for anyone trying to survive on a meal a day! You grab food when it is offered to you!

A discipleship meeting followed that, and I traded a 6:00pm prayer meeting for my usual dinner time, so I didn’t have to watch my wife eating alone. So, this day went pretty well!

Tomorrow, I will be dealing with 27 hours without food, since I will be back on the supper-only routine. I talked with two of my friends, today, about their experiences on the Hunger Challenge. Each of us is dealing with it in a different manner, and each of us is learning something different. We are probably learning more about ourselves and our own eating habits, than about those who chronically miss meals, but it is a good exercise, anyway. It is always good to learn new things!

I hope you are learning some things as you read my emails! I hope you will consider donating to the cause! Thank you, if you have already given!

Blessings

Eldon

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Eldon KibbeyHunger Challenge: Day Three – Eldon Kibbey
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Hunger Challenge: Day Two – Eldon Kibbey

Hunger Challenge 2019
Day Two
What a beautiful day! It was enjoyable to have a chilly morning and to be able to meet the men at the CBMC Indy Eastside breakfast at Lincoln Square Pancake House on E 56th Street. Unfortunately, I was unable to enjoy my usual waffle, but did drink coffee. Conversation is a good distraction from hunger, so I got along fine, even though the other men were eating big breakfasts. Next week! I’ll be able to get back into my routine, then!

I have found that hunger is a distraction with work. I can’t imagine a daily routine of hunger pangs while trying to do meaningful work. I can do it for a week, but would not like it on a regular basis. I was glad I had a discipleship meeting today which distracted me from thoughts of food. I had to get a couple of fillings at the dentist, so they numbed my gums and I think it numbed my brain, as well! It was good to take a nap when I got home. Then, refreshed, I was able to do some work in the yard before a welcome dinner with my wife.
I am really blessed! God has given me so much, and I am concerned for those who are dealing with food insecurity on a regular basis.
Won’t you help Faith, Hope & Love to reach out to those less fortunate? Your generous donation would be very helpful! Any amount would be appreciated! And, please pray with me for those who are struggling to find a meal a day.
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Eldon KibbeyHunger Challenge: Day Two – Eldon Kibbey
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Fresh perspectives

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Early in the morning, I was still thinking about how self-absorbed I was yesterday. I felt so bad. Then, I got busy preparing to go to an event.

Day 7 was a little hard for me. Jocelyn, one of the ambassador and I went to a Back to School event where they provided different resources for kids going back to school. Although it was not as hot as the previous weeks, the sun was intense.

After 2 hours being under the sun, I started to feel weak and dizzy. Jocelyn encouraged me to eat some cut fruits that she brought for the crowd. I immediately felt better. How could the food insecure walk in the middle of summer to go to work, to a pantry or do errands? What about the kids who did not have dinner the night before plus no breakfast the following day? How could they focus on their classes? What about the elderly who are on fixed income, deciding which they’re going to spend their money between prescription medicine and healthy food?

At the event, I met different community agencies. There were a few ladies from the same church who wanted their church to get involved in setting up Missional Food Pantry. Here’s a short video clip of one of the interviews that day.

Later that day, we had a celebration dinner for the week with several Ambassadors. We shared stories and testimonials. It was great to hear their hearts as they express their feelings beyond being hungry and in expanding their awareness about what’s happening in the neighborhoods.

I shared with everyone that I and a few other ambassadors will continue the challenge of eating one meal a day for the next 7 days until August 4th. For me, I would like to go deeper than experiencing how it feels to be hungry but to get me closer to God as I rely on His strength to continue on. You will hear more about this journey beyond being hungry for 7 days.

Thank you for all the ambassadors, the donors and for you who have supported us in various ways.

God bless you,
Merlin

Merlin GonzalesFresh perspectives
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Unaware

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After our interview at Ch. 8, I had headed back home to finish my work day. I was not my usual self. I felt cranky and frustrated. I shared with others that too much passion without much compassion is not good. Passion is good if directed the right way., otherwise, our passion makes us unaware of others. Our passion becomes our master, not realizing how we act or treat others.

Day 6 was another day of revelation about myself. Where ever I am, on my way home, working and meeting with people, who and what do I see? Do I remind myself that God created people in His image. That whatever we go through, God is watching over us. God holds us in the palm of His hands.

Do I listen what others are saying? Do I see what God is showing me or I just go through the day and not noticing the needs of others. I am not talking about now that I am hungry, but in my daily walk with God. Am I insensitive with others because my mind is focus on my task. Do I miss to treasure my experiences in life?

Hunger could help us to notice on what’s important in life, even the small things that seem insignificant. Do I even realize what others are actually telling me? Am I aware how I treat others or myself? Did I miss what God is doing? Am I aware how I live?

Merlin GonzalesUnaware
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Life could change in an instant

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Day 5: It’s hard to imagine that my body has been able to sustain having just one meal a day for 5 days!

Nineteen hours after my last meal, I walked to a bus stop. I missed the first bus, but I did not have the energy to run after it, so I waited for the next one. I wanted to share in the experience of those who are hungry and do not have a personal vehicle.

I was very late for my appointment in downtown Indy. Later in the day, I had the privilege of interviewing Rocky, a Dessert Storm veteran. He was sitting at a street corner asking for help. My friend, Todd, asked if he could bring him to a restaurant for lunch, but the veteran refused since his feet were aching. We later found out that someone had stolen his shoes. He ended up with a pair of shoes that were too small for his feet. One of my Facebook friends saw the live posting and offered to give him shoes.

Todd went to Jimmy John’s to buy lunch for Rocky. Meanwhile, I started the interview. You will see the live Facebook posting here: https://www.facebook.com/merling1/videos/10155672500228297/

Rocky’s life changed drastically when he retired from the Armed Forces. He said that 75% of the homeless are veterans. He also mentioned that in a certain area referred to as Tent City, all the homeless were veterans. He told me that some people spit on his face and throw beer cans, but he does not retaliate. I was shocked by his answer. I know I have a short fuse when I’m hungry. I realize that it’s much easier for us to say we forgive our enemies than when we actually experience it in the streets. Rocky has a strong faith in God, who sustains him. He can be calm in the middle of a storm. I have a lot to learn from him. I prayed for him afterwards.

On my way back home, his words stayed with me, “Anyone’s life could change in an instant.” Yes, many people are only a paycheck away from being evicted from their homes and/or from suffering hunger. I feel so fortunate that I don’t have to sleep in shelters or beg in the streets for my next meal. Thank you God!

Merlin GonzalesLife could change in an instant
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TO START THE DAY

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TO START THE DAY hungry means that I’ll be thinking about food all day. What does that mean I WON’T be thinking about? When I’m hungry I think about myself so I won’t think about others. When I’m hungry I am consumed by what I will eat, not what I will think. When I’m hungry I think about my next meal, not my next job. When I’m hungry I think about my stomach, not my soul. I have been hungry like this for one week; I can’t imagine being hungry like this for one year. Donate to Faith, Hope & Love not because you know how daily hunger feels but because others do. https://www.fhlcommunity.org/beyond-this-hunger/

Mark EckelTO START THE DAY
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Mind, Body and Soul

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Sometimes, we look at a bag of food and don’t realize that not only will it ease the hunger pain, but it could also affect our entire being.

Day 4 was a little better than the last 3 days. It seems like my body is adapting to its new routine. I think it’s starting to conserve fuel and energy. My mind was more alert when I got to the office for an important meeting, and I did well during a radio interview later that afternoon.

It was a blessing to visit the newest Missional Food Pantry at Nu Corinthian Baptist Church and witnessed one person accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. In the process of receiving food, a person’s eternal destiny was changed forever!

When I got home, my wife was cooking taco meat. It was hard for me to concentrate; however, my soul (or my principle of life) kept me strong in the midst of the tempting smell of food.

When we give food at food pantries, let’s not forget that the food will only fill the stomach. Since food is one of the basic human needs, it affects our entire being. It affects how we think, how we behave, what our bodies may look like, our internal bodily functions and our emotion. Food is essential for us to live.

As I was eating my one and only meal late in the afternoon at Qdoba, I appreciated the taste; it seemed like it was more delicious than before. I am thankful that I am able to afford to buy food and have the freedom to eat good (healthy and tasty) food. I had a stronger sense of appreciation in eating, knowing that it not only would ease my hunger pains but would also nourish my mind, body, soul and spirit.

Merlin GonzalesMind, Body and Soul
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MENTAL HEALTH and FOOD

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MENTAL HEALTH & FOOD I often wonder how poor food consumption adversely impacts a person’s mental state. Vitamins and minerals from fresh produce are often missing from a poverty stricken person’s diet. What kind of connection, then, is there between food, mental health, homelessness, generational poverty, confrontations with law enforcement, the list goes on and on. Support our 0.0.1 campaign this week as we draw attention to the good work of Faith, Hope & Love. https://www.fhlcommunity.org/beyond-this-hunger/

Mark EckelMENTAL HEALTH and FOOD
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HUNGER HURTS OUR HUMANITY

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CONCENTRATION Imagine not being able to “think straight.” You snap at people verbally. Your hunger agitation gives you a “short fuse.” You are angry, not at the person in front of you, but at the fact that you cannot concentrate. The lack of food impacts our intellectual abilities, including our ability to control our temper and tongue. Next time you are in the company of a child who has not eaten that morning before school, remember: hunger impacts our humanity. I have experienced the emotions only in a small way during our 0.0.1 Faith, Hope & Love Week 2018. Support https://www.fhlcommunity.org/beyond-this-hunger/

Mark EckelHUNGER HURTS OUR HUMANITY
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A Day with the hungry

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Compared to Day 2, I felt better. I am more alert, have more energy, and more clarity of mind. I had the energy to walk for 3 hours to share FHL Week’s Beyond This Hunger Campaign along Massachusetts Avenue. I spoke with several people about hunger and poverty in the city. Some people were surprised to know that Indianapolis is one of the worst cities for food deserts. Approx. 80,000 children in metro Indy go to bed hungry. Indiana is one of the hungriest states in the country. How could that be, in the greatest country of the world? One of the topics of the Beyond This Hunger program is empathy. As I spoke with the people, some were very empathetic, and some were judgmental. When I got tired of walking, I sat on a bench next to a lady whom I thought dropped something under the iron bench. So I offered her help and she said, “Could you pick up that dime under the bench? You’ll be surprised how many coins get dropped under the bench, and that’s what I do every day.” Another person nearby who just woke up from laying on the bench waved at me and he said he asks for money every day. I told him “I’m not able to give you money.” He said, “No, I’m just telling you what I do every day.” As I prepared to walk again, I saw him pull his toothbrush and toothpaste out and proceed to one of the shops, where I assumed he would ask for water. I can only imagine how hard it is to sit on a street corner smelling bacon, ham and eggs while; all this while watching people walking and snacking, and all you have in your pocket is a dime. It was hard for me, because I know I can just go into one of the restaurants on Mass Ave and purchase a good meal, but I chose to be hungry. Later, I met the rest of our group at the circle in downtown Indianapolis. We interviewed people live on Facebook , so you can check my Facebook https://www.facebook.com/merling1 for some interesting conversations. One thing that resonated with me, was the feeling of loneliness and separation from society that the people I spoke with expressed. A man I met who lives on the street goes to a technical school and is not losing hope, even though he has to scour food from garbage cans. This has been a different day, experiencing being with the people who are hungry, but do not choose it. When it was mealtime, I heard my wife say, “slow down,” because I was devouring the food out of hunger. After I ate my meal for the day, I was so thankful, and I felt blessed. I regained my strength within an hour, and actually ended my day vacuuming the house.

Merlin GonzalesA Day with the hungry
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Food desert

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Day 2: it was a challenging day. I started the day with low energy and feeling cold almost the entire day. I did not want to move and it’s hard to focus on my work. I was feeling hungry the entire day and all I can think of is how many more hours till my next meal.
A thought came to mind. I know I have food at 5pm, plenty of cooked food and
More in my refrigerator and pantry. What if I don’t have food waiting for me?
Recently, I read posting from someone I know who lives more than 10 miles away from a supermarket, no means of transportation. As I monitor the social media conversations during that time, the person said that all she needs is a jug of orange juice to balance her blood sugar. Later on, a community church came and brought her to town. A day later, my wife and I brought her groceries from one of FHL Missional Food pantries.
I live 2 miles away from 2 supermarkets. My wife and I visit one of the stores a few times a week.
Food desert, what is it? Find out more about it here.

Merlin GonzalesFood desert
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Only the Good Stuff

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What would it be like to only eat processed food? What if I were only able to afford the cheapest boxed carbohydrates to feed my family? What if I were unable to afford fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats? How would my mental abilities be affected not only by the lack of food but by the kind of food available? I have been pondering these questions as an Indianapolis non-profit leader telling everyone to support Faith Hope & Love, an organization who helps to address these questions for the good of others. https://www.fhlcommunity.org/beyond-this-hunger/

Mark EckelOnly the Good Stuff
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The Second Day

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The second day of my 0-0-1 campaign. (0-breakfast, 0-lunch, but 1-supper) has been tougher than the first! Sunday morning, I was prepared to miss my usual breakfast cereal, but was tempted by the smell of bacon that Sandy was frying for our 3 grandsons who are spending the week with us! Fortunately, I was able to avoid the temptation, and the day went pretty well. I was hungry at dinner-time, and probably ate twice as much as I usually do.

I thought about that this morning, when I still felt full. That is probably normal for folks who are missing meals. They would tend to eat as much as they can, when food is available. That can’t be good for one’s health!

Today, I got off to a good start with a meeting at Panera, where I drank my usual coffee, but had nothing to eat. Then, it was off to Washington Township Park in Avon, so the boys could enjoy some time with their 4 cousins. I drank a lot of water, and had two meetings in the afternoon, and felt hungry much of the time. I was tempted to suck on my favorite cinnamon candies, but didn’t. I realized that I was resisting the temptation to eat snacks that were available, as opposed to wishing that I had something to eat. Those are two totally different thoughts! So, this experiment of skipping meals doesn’t really replicate the activities of those who are missing meals regularly. Hopefully, it will cause you who read this, to realize how good you have it, and to pray for those who don’t!

This evening, a friend pointed out that I wasn’t as patient dealing with a cohort as I usually am. He asked me if that was because of the disruption of my eating habits. I don’t know! This is not the best week for this experiment, because of the disruption of my schedule, with the grandsons in town. For one thing, I didn’t get my afternoon nap! But, it does illustrate the issue that food-insecure people are dealing with, constantly. Life goes on! Many are working more than one job, trying to feed 3 generations of family members, not getting enough rest, and having to deal with the problems of others. That’s what this campaign is all about! Awareness of those in need!

Eldon KibbeyThe Second Day
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Lonely and Hungry

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Day one of the Beyond this Hunger has been eye-opening. Yes, I was hungry. However, what impacted me more was the feeling of loneliness and isolation.

I cooked dinner for my children but could not sit down and eat with them. I was on the outside looking in while they ate. I was different. I wasn’t a part of the group.

I am a teacher. As I scooped mac ‘n cheese and fruit onto my children’s plates last night, I drooled a little (lol) and then silently wondered how many times a student has come to school feeling hungry. I wondered if they too felt left out because they simply couldn’t afford to buy an ice cream or share their well packed snack with a friend. Breaking bread at a family meal or with friends at school doesn’t just feed our physical bodies. It nourishes our souls to dine with those we care about and love. When you’re too poor to eat with others, you feel left out and sad.

I personally have experienced the isolation of poverty. It makes you feel different than everyone else. I couldn’t just decide to go to the grocery store to feed my family like my neighbors could across the street. I had to plan family meals VERY carefully and track every penny I spent to make it to the next Friday (payday). I used to stretch expensive items- like a pack of chicken- to last for three or four meals instead of just one. Fresh fruit… fresh ANYTHING… was a luxury.

When I did go to buy food at the store, I used to die a little inside when the person in line ahead of me spent $8-$9 on something like name brand laundry detergent. I would have spent $1 on detergent at the Dollar Store and then fed my children for a few DAYS on the $8 left. I used to think, “What’s it like to go through the checkout and not even think about the money being spent?” Or, “What’s it like to have meat at every meal?” Again, poverty is isolating. It just makes you feel different… because you ARE different.

There were a few times when my family was entirely dependent upon others to eat. I had to plan my week and activities very carefully so I could be sure to make it to the local food pantry when it was open. Again, I couldn’t just decide to get groceries. I was told when to go because of the pantry’s limited hours. When I got to the pantry, I usually had zero say in what is given to me. DO NOT GET ME WRONG. I am grateful for every bit of help that I have ever been given in tough times. However, there is something truly humbling about not being able to choose. Poverty strips you of choice and dignity.

So, as I watched my children eat last night, all those feelings I had from tougher times came flooding back. Isolation. Humiliation. Loneliness.

The Beyond This Hunger campaign isn’t just about going hungry. It is about trying to empathize with those who suffer. I remember your pain: your physical hunger pains and your emotional pain.

Julie hamnerLonely and Hungry
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All I Can Think About

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My stomach is constantly rumbling. I find my thinking is interrupted by my desire to eat. As an author, a professor, and a non-profit leader I depend on my mind. I identify in only a small way with those who are hungry like this every day, every week, every month. Take a moment to consider my words and donate to Faith Hope & Love, an organization who serves those whose stomachs rumble every day. https://www.fhlcommunity.org/beyond-this-hunger/

Mark EckelAll I Can Think About
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Experience is a great teacher

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Within an hour after one meal the entire day (Sunday, 7/22/18), I went to the bathroom with diarrhea; maybe my stomach is not used to receiving food just once a day. To avoid the experience of hunger pains and growling stomach, I went to bed earlier than my usual schedule. However, I woke up at 3am, feeling cold. Eating a meal in this first day of FHL Week 2018, I lost half a pound and felt week (I drank more water than normal to ease my hunger).

Time is crawling when you are hungry and it reveals a different reality as compared to our common experience. One of the topics of Beyond This Hunger (BTH) curriculum is being aware of ourselves. The Bible tells us many stories of transformation when people fast such as Moses and our Lord Jesus Christ. Somehow, in the midst of distress, our spiritual eyes are sharpened and we are more receptive to revelations. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the Bible tells us “blessed are the poor…”

Please support me as I journey through hunger to raise awareness of this perpetual challenge in the cities of the greatest country in the world and to raise money to send 100 individuals to a 20-week transforming program. Click here to Donate https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/Beyondthis/MerlinGonzales

Merlin GonzalesExperience is a great teacher
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