“Poverty is not an accident.”  This tweet from @Pontifex, Pope Francis, jolted me to my core when I read it a day or so ago.  So, if it is not an accident, what is it? The gist of his meaning is that poverty is not something that happens by coincidence. He continues in his thought, “It has causes that must be recognized and removed for the good of so many brothers and sisters.” So, if there are causes of poverty, there must be an antidote right? There must be a cure. This very small quip has rung in my ears all week, if poverty is not an accident, what can we do? One of the symptoms of poverty is hunger and food insecurity. Yes, in Hamilton County, Indiana. Dear people, we have the capability and the resources to combat this problem. We just have to do it, not just talk about it. Feeding the hungry is not just a good thought, we must act, we must continually have on our minds the food we have available to us, and our ability to share.

I looked up the antonyms of the word, accident, they include words such as: plan, intent, privilege, calculation, plot, and pattern. When I insert the word ‘hunger’ in place of poverty, I come up with ‘Hunger is not an accident,” So if the hunger and food insecurity issue is not an accident in Hamilton Count what is it? A plot? A plan? Is eating, and knowing where your next meal coming from, a privilege? 

My friend Doug is a volunteer for the Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank. Each week he goes around to the places where the Big Yellow cans have been placed, and picks up food for the food bank. I met him at church this past week and he was frustrated at the lack of food he picked up this past week. Some of the institutions, which agreed to have the donation barrels, came back empty. EMPTY. He noted that the place where the most food is donated is in the poorer neighborhoods. It seems the people who have known hunger, who have wrestled with poverty are the very ones that donate the most consistently. In other words, the ones who are witnesses to God’s provision, and God’s grace end up being the hands and feet of our Savior Jesus.

This is indeed the season for giving, for remembering the poor and the lonely, the sick and the hungry. If you were looking for a family activity, I would encourage you to go to the grocery store and pick out your favorite non-perishable food items and bring them to your dinner table. Talk about why you chose the food you did, the memories and stories about this food, pray over it, and then go find a place to donate it. There are many food pantries in the area, or find the Hamilton County Food Bank, and I just bet your church would gladly take the donations. Roots of Life will be having ’Breakfast Worship’ on Sunday, at 10:30, where we will be sitting at tables eating and worshipping, and talking about the abundance God has given us, and how we will share with those who are hungry. Poverty and hunger are not accidents, because there is a cure, and we have the resources and the ability to be the vehicle to a cure.

Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at pastor@rolcommunity.com, on Facebook or at www.rolcommunity.com