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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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