This I Believe

Paula - New Bedford, Massachusetts
Entered on February 4, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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This I Believe

I believe in doing everything that I possibly can to help alleviate hunger in the New Bedford area. For the past year and a half I have been the director of St. Anthony of

Padua Food Pantry. We have seen a sixty percent increase in families seeking assistance to provide food on a weekly basis. Most of our families have no car or any means of transportation. They walk to the Church regardless of the weather. They wait in line for as long as it may take to come inside for a bag of groceries, a loaf of bread and the possibility of some produce. We also provide a meal and the opportunity to search through used clothing for any articles that they may need. Other Food Pantries in this area tell the same story. We work under the guidelines of the Boston Food Bank and all of our participants must be able to meet those guidelines in order to come each week. The Boston Food Bank provides about forty percent of the food that we distribute and the rest comes from donations.

Two years ago I was fortunate to travel with a friend to Senegal, Africa and visit the small village Goundga for two weeks. They have no electricity or running water. About three hundred people live in the village and they were some of the most content people I have ever met. They shared with us their food,clothing and a hut to live in. We brought some basic medical supplies that were donated by Southcoast Hospital and many items donated by coworkers and friends. Sitting in that village made me realize the wealth we have here at home and how much we could actually share with each other .

One morning sitting in Mass, Father Roger Landry,Pastor at Saint Anthony’s, asked for some help with the Food Pantry. A little voice inside told me that this was something I should do. Many volunteers will tell you the satisfaction they receive by helping out in local Food Pantries. Often I am given hugs in sheer gratitude,sometimes just the look in someone’s eyes as they are leaving with their groceries fills my heart with joy. I hear over and over how families have to make a choice between buying food , paying rent or getting medication .

“Everyone has a role in fighting hunger” is the motto of the Greater Boston Food Bank. No special talents are needed, just the desire to help in any way that you can. If you are busy and don’t have any time to donate you can always help by giving food or making a donation. How many times are there “buy one get one free “ sales at the local markets? Just imagine if every person shopping bought those items and dropped off the free item to the nearest Food Pantry. It is mind boggling to think how little an effort could bring such wonderful results. Even one jar of peanut butter might prevent a child from being hungry, one can of tuna can make a big difference to an elderly person on a “Everyone has a role in fighting hunger” is the motto of the Greater Boston Food Bank. limited income. With a little help and awareness we all could make life a little easier for those who need it so badly. Yes , I believe we all can make a difference in fighting hunger here in New Bedford.