By: Mark Hall
Good morning, my name is Greenie. I’m a can of green beans living in some temporary yellow housing in Noblesville. My journey to get here was exhausting. I’m a proud can of vegetables, fresh packed, four inches tall, and I weigh fourteen and a half ounces. My 60 calories represent a small portion of what people are supposed to eat every day. As a can of green beans, I sit silently among cans of soup, boxes of pasta and jars of peanut butter. My bunkmates are some interesting characters that come from all over the world. As diverse as we all are, we share the same purpose. After traveling to our forever home, we’ll help someone to have a better day.
From my window to the world, I witness firsthand the struggle of hunger faced by families who depend on the generosity of strangers. Last Tuesday I left the factory, traveling from Canada on a truck bound for Indiana. A couple of days later I found myself in a large dark storage shed along with hundreds of my friends. Then it happened, a nice young lady picked me up and drove me to a big yellow pantry. It tickled as she spun me around checking my born-on date, gave me a bath and tattooed my UPC code. Then up on the shelf I go. Wow! What a view!
In my short time here so far, I’ve watched humans from all walks of life visit the pantry. Some arrive with a sense of gratitude and eyes filled with hope. Some show up and drop off more friends to temporarily join me, and still others who open the door seem sad, filled with the desperation of their situation. This is the moment when the painful soul of hunger reveals itself.
Early this morning right after midnight, a mom and two children pulled up to my pantry. Carefully and quietly, she looked to make sure no one was watching as she hurriedly placed a few items in a small plastic bag before jumping back into her car. She motioned to the kids in the back seat and then almost as if to say goodbye she pointed toward me in the pantry, driving away. The shame of judgment is real. It changes the behavior of people who find themselves in need. I’ve seen longing gazes and hesitant steps, as people battle their demons, wrestling with their pride and the fear of being labeled. If I could talk, I’d shout, “HEY!, You are not alone, people care, we are here for your people.”
From my perch in the pantry, hunger is more than a mere sensation. It is a silent battle fought by individuals; their lives deeply impacted by the absence of food. As a can of green beans, I know that I’m a temporary solution for someone and I’m ok with that life. In my time on the shelf, I’ve learned that while providing meals too, my pantry is a symbol of community solidarity. People find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their fight against hunger. The humans that put me here describe it as humanity, honoring God and something about Neighbors serving Neighbors. Well, thanks for taking the time to read the thoughts of a can of Great Value Green Beans. I’ve been here nine days waiting to go to my forever home, maybe today. Stay tuned. With more than 44,000 food challenged neighbors in Hamilton County, www.Feedingteam.org is a registered 501c3, not-for-profit organization that provides outdoor-24x7x365-no-questions-asked free food pantries throughout the county. The pantries exist, to meet the food insecurity needs of GAP families, neighbors who may not qualify for public assistance and could use a few meals before payday. The pantries serve as many food-challenged neighbors as possible, and our hearts are with those who, like my family, could not always make ends meet.
Thank you for supporting the pantries. We love serving with so many neighbors across Hamilton County. In future columns we will share more stories about how your generosity served neighbors in times of need. The face of hunger in Hamilton County is not what you may think.
In practical terms this straightforward way to help neighbors is having a real impact on lives, families, and our communities. Thank you. A few meals can change the course of a person’s life. A can of green beans means so much more when you have nothing to feed your kids. Would you like to get involved? Volunteer opportunities are available. We are evaluating new pantry locations. If you think you have a potential area location, please contact us. www.feedingteam.org facts – 51 pantries, 10,000 meals in May 2023, more than 30 volunteer families. Mark & Lisa Hall are the Founders of The Feeding Team. They may be reached at [email protected] and [email protected] or 317-832-1123.
– Mark Hall is a successful businessman, husband, father and grandfather. He is serving his first term on the Hamilton County Council.