A Starvation of Imagination

Jerry was a truck driver.  He owned his own truck and carried food products from the midwest states to cities on both coasts.  As an independent driver, he could set his own delivery schedule.  Throughout his travels, he would often be dismayed at the forgotten places in America that had not prospered.  Many of these communities were “food deserts.”  There was no retail grocery store for miles.  The only source of food was a local food bank.

Jerry wanted to help.  He worked with his client food companies to see if they would donate food for the communities he saw on his travels.  It didn’t take long to fill up his truck with food.  Then he took two weeks of vacation to make food deliveries to food banks.  He decided to stay a few days in each community to get to know the people who came to the food bank.  Their stories were heart breaking, and Jerry was overwhelmed with their gratitude for the food he brought.

On his way home, Jerry stopped at a truck stop.  He met up with fellow food haulers and shared his story.  The next thing he knew, other truckers decided to join him.  It didn’t take long for truck drivers across America to join with Jerry in providing food for those in need.

Jerry was an inspiration to others.  But he had no platform or organization behind him.  It was just an idea.  Inspiring others does not take a position of authority or a “pulpit” to speak from.  Those who are successful at inspiring others do so out of the genuineness of their character.

Jerry’s idea spread throughout the trucking community by word of mouth.  Many of those who were inspired by Jerry’s actions never actually met him.  It was the caring nature of what Jerry did that inspired them.

It’s ironic that there is enough food for everyone but starvation persists throughout America and the world. Having enough to eat should be a right of everyone. The tragic thing about food is that it has a finite life and food is often wasted before it gets to those in need. Why is that? What Jerry did was to help resolve a supply chain problem – delivering food to those in need. It doesn’t take government programs to feed the hungry. What it takes are networks of people like Jerry who have compassion for those in need.

Just imagine how we can enlist the compassion of those with the means to fight hunger. Not everyone has a truck to deliver food. But all of us can volunteer our time in soup kitchens. We can donate food to food pantries. We can help encourage restaurants to support programs like Second Harvest. The parable of Jesus feeding the 5,000 can become a message for all of us.

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“We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist, one-third rich and two-thirds hungry.”   – Jimmy Carter

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