In Divide, Colorado, just about ten minutes up the road from our house is a church called The Little Chapel. In its heyday, during the mining frenzy surrounding our area of Teller County, it boasted a population of about 20,000. Now there are a handful of stores, one stoplight at the crossroads leading to Florissant to the West, Highlands Ranch subdivision and a farm owned by the illustrious Henry Kissinger to the North, Woodland Park to the Northeast and Cripple Creek to the South.
The Little Chapel is a small body of believers who operate one of the most successful food pantries in our part of the country. My husband volunteers there everytime the doors are open and tells me that it is not unusual to give boxes of food to over 400 families. Last week, for example, they gave away 55,000 pounds of food. That is HUGE! We are a rural community and by the looks of things a prosperous one. But the economy has hit our area hard. It is quite common to see people pulling up in SUVs, Cadillacs, F350s, all fairly new. Most of these people have never had to ask for help before. This economy has given our nation a unique opportunity. Instead of complaining about what we don't have, we should, particularly as believers, be the ones who are looking for ways to help make the transition for these folks as easy as possible.
I grew up in a fairly affluent family and never wanted for anything. When I became a single parent years later, I experienced first hand what it means to want for food. We slept on the floor, and ate dry cereal and peanut butter for every meal unless, of course, we were the beneficiaries of some genuinely benevolent soul. So to see people who obviously are embarrassed by their circumstances and having to swallow their pride so that their children can eat is heartwrenching for me.
Earlier this afternoon my husband was approached by a woman who knew he voluntters at the food pantry. She needed food but her proud husband would not take her to pick it up. She begged us to help her get it. My heart broke in two. She works in a fast food restaurant where we get veggie burgers now and again. Later, when we were pulling out of the parking lot, I said to my husband, "Honey, there are so many hungry people here."
It is so sad, yet, we are to take care of each other. The need is great. Physical and spiritual hunger abound. My prayer is that we will meet these physical needs so that we can win the right to be heard by these folks and address their spiritual needs as well.