In a shabby back room, in a run down house,
in the north side of Chicago,
a little girl, so small for her age,
sits huddled and hungry…again.
She prays for her stomach to stop aching,
as her mother feeds on drugs—
to the tenth diet commercial that hour,
blaring from the TV
into every corner of the tiny apartment,
mocking the little girl’s hunger.
But the little girl hears
what it would be like
to have enough food
to make you fat.
Inside a cute little house,
in rural Ohio,
with a white picket fence and a tree with a swing,
a mom stands—praying
her home canned preserves will last,
as long as it takes for her husband to find another job.
Their meager savings, they’d struggled so hard to save,
prevents them getting food stamps.
With house payment and utility bills
eating the savings,
food shopping has to wait.
She holds back tears,
when her youngest of three children,
they can’t have an evening snack.
She tries to force a smile
as an overweight neighbor stops by,
rattling on and on, consumed with
the latest diet craze, eagerly discussed that night
at ladies church meeting.
As an afterthought, the neighbor also mentions
the church food pantry idea—that didn’t get far.
The neighbor’s high toned rant,
that a food pantry for the needy
was just plain silly anyway
and quite unnecessary in their neighborhood,
rings in her ears,
as she can no longer hold back tears,
and quietly cries herself to sleep.
In a little mobile home,
in a cramped retirement community,
an elderly couple sits
and listens patiently—to a home health nurse
lecture them on the importance
of a healthy diet.
They exchange silent glances at each other.
They know their worry, all too often,
is not healthy or cheap grocery choices,
but to choose between needed medicine or food.
They often pray which to choose that week,
to keep themselves alive a little longer,
if either choice is worth it.
They had saved and planned
to be carefree and cared for
in their “golden years”,
but the loss of their only child,
as he fought for America,
and the series of illnesses
that attacked their
ever grieving bodies,
changed their plans.
Oh God, how close to us
are one of these—starving
in heart and body—praying
that someone sees?
As we send so much help afar,
are close-by needs too often concealed,
shadowed by illusions—
do we abandon
our local mission fields?
Help us Lord, to clearly see,
that even living in a land so blessed,
where worldwide—all here are perceived,
as living on a diet of greed,
that even in this land of plenty,
that even in America,
remind us Lord,
You have hungry children waiting to be fed.
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