A Cry of the Heart Answered 40 Years Later

I experienced the oddest but most powerful memory yesterday. I sat in our church’s sanctuary for the orientation for a food-packing event with Feed My Starving Children, a Christian non-profit that packs meals to send to starving children all over the world. I learned about how to pack at my station to make a meal to save a child’s life: the vitamins, the dried vegetables, the protein powder, and finally, the rice. I learned about where the food would go and the number of children it might feed.

But while we watched a video showing starving children, and then pictures of them months or years later after surviving on the meal packs from Feed My Starving Children, a vivid memory flashed through my mind. I was four years old, and I was watching television with a babysitter while my parents were out to dinner. A commercial came on–the first of its kind I’ve ever seen. It was, of course, Sally Struthers in her plea to save the Ethiopian children. As a four year old, watching other children starving to death on the television impacted me so deeply I remember feeling sick inside. I couldn’t stop crying about those dying children. When my parents returned home from their evening out, I remember my mother comforting me, but I just kept saying something like, “Can’t we just send them a pear?” I thought of the fruit I enjoyed every day. I thought of those children as I went to bed and as I moved on into a regular kindergarten day. But I never sent a pear, or anything else. I felt powerless and overwhelmed.

Although as time went on my husband and I supported children through various ministries, I never became involved with direct hunger relief as an adult. But as I sat in the sanctuary with my hair net on, ready to pack meals, I remembered that feeling I stored away as a little girl. I could now do something. I could now use my grown-up resources and wisdom to do something and choose organizations that knew how to actually get nutritious food to children. How far we’ve come in studies of nutrition! How far we’ve come in resourcing the right people on the ground to avoid corruption to get food to children. I especially noted the way Feed My Starving Children customizes their mobile food packs to feed children suffering from intestinal diseases when they can only digest certain foods or for babies ready to transition to solid foods.

I praised God that He directed me here at such a time. It felt like a fulfillment of a forty-year old ache that I hid away all this time. And now, onward! Onward to donate, to pack food, and to do what I now know I can do.

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