With the sacred season of lent upon us, many Christians will be thinking of ways to make this time of prayer and self denial meaningful and spiritually enriching. One suggestion we have at the Franciscan Center is for you to “give up” some of your healthy foods! Yes, you heard me right; instead of denying yourself candy or sweets, why not take the time to deliberately sacrifice some fresh fruits and vegetables by donating them to the poor and homeless right here in Baltimore!
Think about it, if you donated two or three 10 pound bags of potatoes, or fresh oranges, to the Franciscan Center’s pantry those very same fresh nutritious items would be in several grocery bags feeding hungry families within 24 hours!
Often times our pantry receives thousands of wonderful nonperishable items form generous donors, but some of the most important and healthy food items never make it into the food system for the poor and needy because people often think it will only go to waste. Here at the Franciscan Center, you can be assured that the food you give, whether it is nonperishable items or fresh wholesome produce, we will use it as soon as possible! That’s because we have the capacity to both store the food and the demand to put your donated food, even fresh produce, right into our bags of groceries that feed thousands of hungry families in Baltimore.
And the ideas of what you can give are more than just potatoes and oranges! We would love to receive bags of salads, carrots, green beans, apples, celery, onions, garlic! Our clients would love to be able to have fresh lettuce, eggplant, cauliflower, cucumbers, collard greens, kale, green peppers and red peppers, and much more – the list could go on and on!
This is all part of our effort to help those in need by honoring their inherent dignity: if we give people in need the good healthy foods we all enjoy, then we help the poor and hungry by honoring their bodies with food that is healthy and wholesome.
What better way to observe lent as a season of prayer and deeper spiritual awareness than to honor everyone’s right to food? Won’t you join us? Share with others, especially the poor, some of your food – good food, real food. Sharing your food in this way is both healthy and holy because it is a gift given in lent, a time of almsgiving and helping those in need. It will also be an act of kindness and love, a real sign of Christian charity because it will honor those in need in a simple and effective way.
I hope you will make this lent a special time of sharing some of your food with the poor by donating fresh produce to us here at the Franciscan Center. Together we will give people who often don’t have a choice the chance to enjoy good nutritious food with their families. Together we can really make a donation of food an act of compassion and caring for body, mind and spirit! May you have a blessed lent and a holy time filled with grace!
Peace and all good!