"Friday night I had the pleasure of visiting Grace Lutheran Church in Hartford. Every week they host a Friday night supper for neighborhood residents offering food and an opportunity to socialize with members of the local community. Most of the visitors are going through hard times – many are unemployed and looking for work. Others have extensive medical problems which won’t allow them to work. This gathering of neighbors is a place where they can fill their stomachs and rejuvenate their souls. I was told that oftentimes, music fills the room – piano, guitar, saxophone…some of which I was lucky enough to hear from some very talented individuals.
While there I heard stories, but none stood out to me like the one James told. A middle-aged, hard working man, you would never know looking at him that he had suffered through 10 heart attacks, several stints, and triple bypass surgery. It was a miracle he was still standing in front of me! After a decade of working for the same company, he was laid off. Unable to pay rent, his landlord has been kind enough to let him stay – for now. But his car was not so lucky…it was impounded after he was unable to pay the registration fee. And now, after a year of push and pull, he is finally receiving SNAP benefits that he so desperately needed.
I was sorry to hear his story…ashamed to hear how he couldn’t receive help when he most needed it. Along with Gilly, a woman who had been laid off from her job as a physical therapy aide because she couldn’t afford to meet the new education requirements and pay her mortgage. And Quincy, a wonderful man so full of knowledge and history - and the ability to make anyone laugh - who has been visiting Grace Lutheran for almost a year now, unable to find work.
This visit, for me, served as a reminder of why I do what little I can do to make things better for others. Because everyone deserves the chance to be independent. And because I agree with Quincy, 'How is it possible that in a country which exports so much food, we can have so many people who are hungry?'"