This Blog was written by a RCFB volunteer. I thank Barbara for her service and her insights. ET
Yesterday, I had an awakening experience as I manned the intake desk at River City Food Bank for the first time after a long absence. I had truly missed working at RCFB. I loved the interaction staff and clients. Volunteering was a social experience for me and gave me some structure in a retired life, not to mention the sense of hands-on contribution to my community.
When I arrived at RCFB I was told by several staff that things were not the same as they had been when I last volunteered. I knew this intellectually: I had been reading the paper about our economy, saw clips on TV, and followed RCFB’s newsletter regularly. But my experience yesterday was like being hit suddenly and hard in the chest. I got to see the waiting line and talk with the clients. Yes, I had heard hard luck stories at RCFB in the past; but there was a new depth and quality to the hardships. Clients were precariously close to losing what little they had. State workers, single parents with children, the ever-present homeless, families. More. So many more. Fewer resources. No resources.
I couldn’t help but feel sad. The rest of the day into last night and today, the phrase “what then, must we do?” occupied my brain. Let me end my reflections here and share:
The Year of Living Dangerously
A film by Peter Weir
Billy Kwan, seasoned freelance photo-journalist;
Guy Hamilton, Journalist, neophyte, foreign correspondent
BILLY: And the people asked him, saying, what shall we do then?
GUY: What’s that?
BILLY: It’s from Luke, chapter three, verse ten. “What then must we do? ” Tolstoy got so upset about the poverty in Moscow that he went one night into the poorest section and just gave away all his money. You could do that now. Five American dollars would be a fortune to one of these people.
GUY: Wouldn’t do any good, just be a drop in the ocean.
BILLY: Ahh, that’s the same conclusion Tolstoy came to. I disagree…Add your light to the sum of light…
GUY: We can’t afford to get involved.
(BGB) Ah, but we can afford to get involved. Let us add our light to the sum of light.