Merlin Gonzales

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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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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