Isaiah 55:1 - "Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost."
In a perfect world, we would have restaurants in poor areas where the people could come and eat without cost. Alas, we're not there yet.
When I think of all the leftovers I've let sit in the fridge and grow moldy over the years, I cringe at my own wastefulness. And when I think of all the food many of us scrape into garbage cans when we've finished our meals, I am overcome with sadness. A few years ago, I worked in downtown Chicago where I saw many panhandlers, and occasionally, someone digging in public garbage cans for bits of thrown-away food - quite literally, scraps from the table. I wanted to cry.
Getting back to my own wastefulness: Since my decision to fast during Lent came just a few days before Ash Wednesday, I had (and still have) quite a bit of perishable food on hand, and I'm trying not to let it go to waste. But last night after a meager supper, I was still hungry so in order not to become crabby, I went to bed (my comfort zone) and read for a while. I found myself dozing off but realized that if I slept then, I would not sleep later. Then I remembered a soup bone I'd forgotten to put in the freezer.
I went to the kitchen where my eyes fell on a small basket of potatoes sitting on the counter top, growing sprouts. It was time to make soup! I threw the soup bone into a large pot filled with water and set it on the stove. I added a bit of barley and leftover marinara sauce for a tomato base. Then I started peeling and dicing the potatoes. As I was working, my hunger subsided, and except for sipping the broth to assess its tastiness, I had nothing further to eat. And I felt happy. After the barley had a chance to cook, I added the potatoes, along with some diced carrots. Later, I added some peas and corn, also leftovers.
As the pot grew fuller and fuller, I began to think -"I'm going to have to freeze most of this - I don't have enough containers - I wish I could personally hand out bowls of food to people in need, warming both their bodies and souls." But my mind couldn't move past the "I wish" stage. No inspiration came to me as a means to give my soup away. My husband, Joe suggested a local soup kitchen, but I think the food they serve there has to be cooked on location to meet with health standards and legal codes. When the soup was done, I poured it into two large bowls, covered them with plastic wrap, and placed them in the fridge.
This morning, my brain seems to be working a little better. After some thought, I called and left a message for my pastor to see if we could identify people in our own church who might need a bit of extra food. In the meantime, I'm going out to buy extra containers. At least frozen, the food will not go to waste!