All posts tagged: Hunger Awareness Challenge

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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Excited To Get Started

Excited to get started

I woke up at 4:30am and can’t go back to sleep. Perhaps excited to get started.

Thank God, it was much cooler today; the early morning rain helped. I put 3 bottles of cold water, portable phone charger, an extra shirt and raincoat in my backpack. The meeting place today was at Second Helpings. Patti spent almost an hour showing us around and explained their operations, which was excellent.

By the time we headed out, the rain stopped. My wife was my buddy since she can track down my location with her iPhone. While walking, I noticed Salvation Army building. I remembered that their food pantry director visited the Table Talk twice last year.

I stopped by unannounced but the pantry director was kind enough to visit with me and let me interview her about their operations. Visit for the interview and other Live coverage of the day. On my way out, a teenager shook my hand and introduced himself. He is a son of one of the volunteers at a missional food pantry that we trained a few years ago. He is now a Youth leader at Salvation Army. This made my day! I know that we are touching lives in Indianapolis!

Immediately after leaving the building, I received a call from WFYI for a phone interview. Here’s the article:

After walking for almost 3 miles, a man asked me What’s the deal with the sign I was holding – Hunger Awareness. After explaining to him of the purpose, he asked me buy him pizza. I did not bring my wallet and even left my wedding ring at home. I offered him water in my knapsack and he graciously accepted it. He thanked me as he proceeded on his way.

I arrived at Cross Church after 2.5 hours of walking and a stop over. It was so nice that their pantry director and the pastor opened the doors for me with cold bottled water!

My wife met me there with our car; I was starting to feel loss of energy. We went home and I was tempted to take a nap but my adrenaline was still pumping in my veins; maybe because of the different kinds of people I came across with along my 5-mile-walk.

As I am writing this, I started to feel cold; my hands and feet were cold as well – my body is asking for fuel. After drinking a glass of water, I felt a little better but pain of hunger is still there. I am just happy that I can still think clearly – we’ll see how it goes later on tonight.

This was a full day and can’t wait to get started again tomorrow to meet people along the way to Barnes UMC and then a tour at Cleo’s Bodega.

Merlin GonzalesExcited To Get Started
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