Maic and I had our first night out without the baby the night before she turned six weeks old. I bought a new dress (I didn't fit in my old ones!) and we went to the Celebrate Eden dinner, an annual fundraising event for the seminary. We had a good friend taking care of Evelyn for the night.
I didn't cry, but I sure was stressed. I wanted to be there on time. I wanted to look nice (hadn't tried that for a while). I wanted to have a good face on for my school and for the congregation I was representing.
When we pulled out of Stacy's driveway, we were alone. What should we talk about? Nothing I guess. We didn't talk. We just drove. I watched the clock and noticed how late we were.
And then something happened that made the silence painful. We drove past a young man standing on the street holding a baby (he couldn't have been much older than Evelyn-- he wasn't even holding his head up) and a sign that said, "Need food and baby formula. God bless you."
I'm guilty of carrying a certain amount of cynicism about people begging on the street. Have they tried to get work? Will they feed addictions with this money? What other resources have they gone to? Etc. But I think that we can all agree without judgment that hunger and imbalanced distribution of food in this country is a problem. Whatever the circumstances of that particular family, that baby did not choose to be born into that family, just as Evelyn didn't choose to be born into ours. As brothers and sisters in Christ and in humanity, we have an obligation to get that baby off the street and fattened up.
For 11 days this month, the United Church of Christ has launched a huge campaign to feed the hungry and fight food-related injustices. The theme is the number one-- an homage to the UCC slogan from John 17:21, "That they may all be one"-- 11 days with a goal of 1,000,000 items of healthy food donated, 11,111 letters written to congress, $111,111 donated to Neighbors in Need, our fund for US missions, and $111,111 donated to East African famine relief. It has been powerful. Congregations across the US are coming up with creative and new ways of reaching these goals.
SO....today, my lovely family participated in the creative food drive that is being put on by First Congregational UCC in Webster Groves, MO, the church that I am serving as student pastor. They have set up a "Go Right to End Hunger" toll booth which allows people to take a short cut through the church parking lot so that they can more easily turn right at an intersection that is impossible-- you know, long lights and nobody understanding the rules about who has the right of way. Every town has one.
Here's what we brought:
|Two cans of formula (shoot! That stuff is expensive!), |
some rice and oatmeal cereal, and some packs of baby food
Paid at the toll booth (shh...don't tell anyone we ended up turning left) with hopes that maybe a little baby in St. Louis just like Evelyn can have a full tummy.
|Here is Gramma filling up E's tummy with cousin Zoey |
at Great-Grampa's memorial lunch.