Sunday, November 4, 2007

Day Four - 30 Creative Days Hath November

Food For The Poor -- Food For The Soul

This time of year, especially, our mailboxes and emailboxes fill with requests from a thousand and one charities, all heart-rending, all worthy, all bringing their unique opportunities (and guilt) with them. We all have our favorites and (presumably) budget a portion of our income for at least some annual donations.

Last year our parish hosted a speaker from Food For The Poor, and I've never before been so touched and so compelled to donate as I was by this man, who is also a personal friend of the pastor. He is one of the founders of this organization and continues to live among the people he serves in the Caribbean area and Latin America, and his stories of the level of poverty and need were quite literally unbelievable... but, unfortunately, documented and true.

Compared to any third world country, and even to other industrialized nations, our standard of living in America is also unbelievable. We live in a culture and economy dedicated to serving our wants, not our needs. Our collective mantra is "more, more, more" and we are determined to fulfill that mantra as one of our inalienable rights. To be sure, some of us have smaller pieces of the possessions pie than others, but by any measure we all have way too much of everything.

With Halloween behind us, we've begun that rush down the holiday roller coaster when American consumerism peaks in a frenzy of schlepping, shopping and shipping. It's a boon to our economy, of course, with its infusion of over 100 billion dollars, and it's also part of the magic of Christmas. I believe in that magic, as American Express, MasterCard and Santa will attest to.

Still, I can't ignore the contrast between our obscene, convulsive, compulsive spending and the thousands of people a few hundred miles from our own shores who live without even clean water to drink.

They don't know it yet, but at our annual "Grandma's Christmas Party," one gift my grandkids will be taking home is a certificate that a donation to Food For The Poor will be made in their name -- equal in value to what Grandma has spent on them. They may not understand completely, but it will help to quiet that whisper in my mind.

Food For The Poor is the second largest international charity in the US and one of the highest-rated charities in the world, with 96% of their proceeds going directly to serving the poor. HERE is a link to their website, HERE is a statement of their finances, HERE are their endorsements and ratings, and HERE is their Christmas giving catalog. HERE is also a link for assistance for the victims of hurricane Dean that recently devastated the precise area FFTP serves.

I guess you can count this posting as one more appeal in your emailbox for charity.
Thanks for reading today.

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