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Don’t Give That Much

Bowl of soup getting handed out

Don’t Give That Much

I knew food was a touchy subject. I didn’t realize it could be touchy for me.

The people filed down the row in the basement of the church. “Don’t give that much” said my co-volunteer after I served one woman a spoonful of chicken pie that I didn’t really think could be classified as heaping. I bristled. If I wanted to give that woman a decent serving, why couldn’t I? She was hungry, and we had food. God always provides enough, isn’t that what you say? I spooned the next man in line a smaller helping. He silently compared his serving to the first woman’s.

Serving this meal was more emotionally challenging than other times I had done the same. I had given out meals before in Philadelphia and other areas, and I was confused as to why this instance felt different. 

I realized this difficulty stemmed from the fact that I was being shown up close the deep shadows of my quiet town for the first time. Seeing these hungry people in person was changing the way I viewed the area I grew up in, and I didn’t like it. The poverty, discouragement, and hardship were easy to look over until now, and the current inability to do so made me uncomfortable.

Poverty likes to stay hidden, and we like to keep it that way. Seeing pain and neediness is unnerving because it calls us out on our own privileges. However, if we choose to recognize and address poverty when it becomes clear to us (even when it is uncomfortable), we can overcome poverty’s power, opening up the opportunity to bring light and wholeness to people in great need of it.