Monday, October 13, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

If you have been following The Vermont Gardener, you might have noticed a banner on the right side of my page. It sponsors Blog Action Day which this year honors the topic of poverty. Blog Action Day affords interested bloggers the opportunity to share their thoughts on a special day and a special topic. Poverty is an issue we hope did not exist, in America or in the world. Trouble is, this is a tremendous issue that requires our help.

Here in Marshfield, Vermont our small community of 1500 members tries to work together to exist in this difficult world. We have a community center which serves as our library and the office of our village and town government. The center is a meeting place for a number of ongoing activities and it also provides space for our Food Shelf.

Eighty year old Winnie Mundinger is in charge of the Food Shelf which she manages with a smile and an enthusiasm big enough to take on any challenge. Food deliveries arrive on scheduled Saturday mornings and Winnie's volunteer crew arrives to unload the truck and prepare food goods for a waiting line of needy community members.

As if this isn't a big enough challenge, Winnie helps manage and cook for the Senior Meals Program three days a week, she helps schedule a foot clinic for seniors, and offers special activities to keep them mentally fit too! Although the Marshfield Food Shelf is part of our community, members from surrounding communities can obtain services too. With Winnie at the helm, no one is ever overlooked.

Volunteering to help your local food shelf is something you and your family members can do no matter where you live. There are other activities related to social services which you can provide too. I'll always remember a winter day years ago when I found Gail and Alex putting together a food basket. I inquired who it was for and Gail replied "Sam". "Sam?????" I didn't know any Sam. Gail explained that Sam was the little old man who lived down the road in the fallen down home with the rusty car and the little fluffy dog. I usually saw him at the spring by the side of the road filling plastic water jugs as he didn't have running water.

Gail didn't know his name but she thought the winter had been long enough already and with holidays approaching, he needed something, unexpected and unasked for. Gail said she wanted Alex to be a part of the process so he could begin to understand our responsibility to others we don't even know. They finalized the gift with some little doggie treats wrapped in a bow and away they went to meet a person neither knew.

The visit was a great success and Gail said the smile on Sam's face was committed to memory with her and Alex forever. Not too much later, Sam had to move to a nursing facility and then he passed on. But for a brief time, the ray of light brightened the loneliness of poverty and an old man smiled and shared conversation that made for a better day. Each of us can recreate this same scene time and again if we just take the first step. Reread this little story and make a plan. Your reward won't be measured in dollars or cents but it will be immeasurable!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where each member of our community has a gift that needs to be shared.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Gardens
Vermont Flower Farm

Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty was a huge success! Try
for follow up.


Susan Tomlinson said...

Very nice to meet you, George. I'll check out Adelaide's work.


jodi said...

What a wonderful story, George. It actually triggered a not-so-happy story, from the days when I worked as a homecare support person. One of my clients was an old fellow whose wife had died several years previously, and who was alienated from his daughter. I was one of the few people who came out to see him, and I even went out on Christmas Eve one year, and brought him Christmas dinner. Otherwise, he would have had macaroni and cheese. It made me very sad that he was so alone.

garden girl said...

Beautiful post George.