Hungry and Afraid
by Teresa Jackson on September 25th, 2020

"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."
Isaiah 41:10 NLT

Many people hold this verse close to their heart. It has echoed through my mind many times these past six months. During the first month of the pandemic, I often caught myself holding my breath, thinking it might keep me from catching the virus. Isn’t that crazy? Fear causes us to do things that make no sense. Oftentimes, we aren’t even aware of the behaviors and mindsets we are exhibiting in order to protect ourselves or others from the big, scary monster we are trying to avoid. We just go on auto-pilot, reacting to the things we fear rather than responding.

 Fear can be paralyzing. Fear can look a lot like anger. Each of us deals with fear differently. People who live with chronic poverty often live in fear, as life has shown them they can trust no one. Many have experienced adverse childhood events (ACE) which leave them living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fear of being hurt, whether physically or emotionally, can resurface, causing flashbacks of abusive experiences that bring anxiety and panic attacks. This kind of fear is the most basic emotion humans experience -- the fear of life or death situations. It leads to the "deer in the headlights" reaction. For instance, if a human being is malnourished or living with chronic food insecurity, the brain automatically tells us to find food. Sometimes the reaction to being hungry is to buy the cheapest food one can find. Quantity, not quality, is what matters. That's why you may have seen people purchasing cases of ramen noodles, rice, pasta, or other high carb, low nutrition foods. Those foods taste good, are filling, and can be consumed in large quantities for pennies per serving. Unfortunately, this type of diet can lead to obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. None of that matters. The goal is to never be hungry again. Nutritionists tell us to eat foods found along the perimeter of the grocery store. Meat, dairy, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Foods found in the middle of the store are usually boxed or canned and, in most cases, more affordable for those on an extremely tight budget.

I am so proud of the Sharing Life food pantries. I am proud of our Hub partners. Because of the extreme generosity of our donors and partners, we distribute hundreds of thousands of pounds of fresh produce to people who are hungry and under-nourished. Every week, Sharing Life distributes at least one semi-truck load of produce. During the summer, we provide even more than that. Our partners include the North Texas Food Bank and many retail partners including Sam’s, Walmart, Kroger, Tom Thumb, and Sprouts.

This is one of my favorite photos taken at Sharing Life. This little girl was so excited to get an apple. Think about that for a minute. Not a Barbie. Not a bike. An apple! It is my daily hope that, by providing nutritious food in quality and quantities enough, we are lessening the number of ACEs that local children experience due to chronic hunger. I pray that parents know Sharing Life is a safe and welcoming place to receive the food they desperately need for themselves and their children. I am thankful to God and each person who plants seeds in this ministry. Our mission is to provide a harvest of nutritious food that is then given away to those who are hungry.

Lord, let us never know the fear of not knowing where our next meal is coming from. Use us to feed those who are hungry and afraid.

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