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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

An Appeal

I received this letter from my favorite charity, Edmundite Missions Their snail mail address is 1428 Broad Street, Selma, AL  36701.

"Dear Estase,
       'What am I supposed to do?  I can't serve this kind of food to hungry people for lunch.'  Mary Gayle told me.  'The Food Bank sent us chocolate fudge sauce, diapers and gallons of distilled water.  They even sent us bags of charcoal!'  When she described the serious shortage of healthy food at a time when children are out of school, I immediately drove over to the Food Bank to see for myself.
      With temperatures well above 100 degrees and the humidity so high that it fills your lungs, Bosco provides nourishing meals to the sick and working poor with young children, for a brief lunch hour, out of the merciless Alabama sun.  Without a doubt, Bosco saves lives.
     Unfortunately, upon entering the warehouse of the Food Bank, I soon discovered the lack of food was even worse that I thought.  'We're getting less than half the USDA food products we got a year ago,' the Food Bank Director told me.  'Instead, we're receiving truckloads of questionable products and nonfood items.  Sometimes, a delivery will have no food at all,' he said, pointing to the pallets of diapers, dish soap, nondairy creamer and teeth whitening strips.
     Looking around the warehouse, I was shocked by the stacks and stacks of empty pallets, where canned vegetables once stood.  The shelves were stocked with boxes of cookies, chips and snack cakes, all empty calorie foods, not the kinds of food to keep a child or an elder strong and healthy.  Are we to feed snack foods to 320 people who depend on Bosco every day, 365 days a year?
     We walked up to a pallet filled with packages of candies, which made me cringe, as I thought of the drastic results of this food shortage.  For the last few months, I have watched the Bosco Food Kitchen bills stack up and now I wonder how we will ever pay the increasing costs, when we are forced to purchase all our meat, rice and vegetables from commercial grocery stores in Selma, at much higher prices.
     The frail and sick like 80 year-old Mrs. Mae Young, crippled with the painful curled hands of rheumatoid arthritis, spends her days on the front porch of her shack, alone and suffering through the blistering heat, far out in the country.  She tells me that her only smiles come from the sight of the Edmundite Missions truck bringing her a bag of food and a word of encouragement.  I simply cannot turn these impoverished people away and I know you would not want me to.
     Currently, the Food Bank can no longer provide the nourishing food we must have!  And I can't come up with the additional funds to purchase food at full price.  This terrible situation is why I'm humbly coming to you for your help.  Without you, it is now impossible to feed those who turn to the Edmundite Missions for life-sustaining food.  The hamburger, rice and vegetables we need to serve soup at Bosco for a month costs $30,612.  Without help from the Food Bank, it will cost an extra $167 a day, in addition to the amount it already takes to feed these hungry people.
     I join the Edmundites in daily prayers, asking God to bless you abundantly.  My prayers are filled with hope that your generosity to feed the poor, whom God loves, will continue.
                                                              In Christ, I remain,
                                                              Chad McEachern
                                                              Missions Director"

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