So when I read the story last week about the “Backyard Blessings,” I couldn’t help but feel we as a community and state need to do more to meet the needs of these children and their families. Ms. Leneda Jones of Sumiton as well as others have stepped forward to try to meet those needs. Alabama Power Service Organization has also stepped forward with $1000 of donated food. And we say “thank you” for caring about others in your own backyard.
When I was growing up we always had nutritional meals at home and never gave any thought to not having something to eat when meal time rolled around. And it made no difference whether it was during the week or on the weekend. We even had a snack after school if that is what we wanted. I also remember that when my brother and I got into school we had lunch each day in the school cafeteria. We never had breakfast like they do now, but we always had lunch. I remember being in elementary school (first through sixth grade) and all students were required to work in the cafeteria at least one week during the year helping serve the meals. I always thought it was great because we (the workers) would eat after everyone else had eaten and gone back to class. It afforded us the opportunity to get a little “extra” if we wanted it. But I also know that was a different time and a different place. I can never remember any of my friends saying they had nothing to eat until they got back to school on Monday.
So why is this happening in this nation of plenty? Are we putting our personal wants ahead of our children’s needs? I certainly hope not.
I also realize there are a large number of families that no longer have a job. But there are programs to help us meet our basic needs of food and shelter. Yes it provides most of the time for only our basic needs, but at least we have those. With unemployment and food stamps (that’s not the program anymore, however there is another state program that replaced it) we should be able to meet most of those needs, including having food for our children during the weekend and when school is not in session.
There are also food closets run by most churches as well as the Salvation Army that are willing to help a family get over the hump in tough times. So there are programs available if one is willing to put forth the effort to find them. And most of the time it only requires that one make the effort to ask.
As I have said before this is one of the most caring areas I have ever lived in and I am sure there will be other organizations, groups, business and individuals that will step forward to help with this project. If there is such a need in east Walker County there is a need in other areas of the county.
Too often we are concerned about our own families and situation, and that should certainly be our primary focus, but we should also be aware of those in our own backyard that need help. And we should be willing to share our blessings with those that have not been as richly blessed as we have.
Remember what Jesus said, “If you have done it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you have done it unto me.”
Jerome Wassmann is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle.