At its monthly meeting Friday, the Senior Beta Club of Flora Macdonald Academy eagerly took on the challenge of being “world changers” for 30-plus children at Peterson Elementary and Red Springs Middle Schools who have been identified as going basically unfed on weekends.
During the week, these children are largely surviving on free breakfasts and lunches at the two schools.
Now, this is no time to start pontificating on why they are in this fix…how “sorry” their parents are, or the “crime” of a society where the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” grows ever wider. The truth is, we have no idea how “sorry” their parents are, or even whether they are “sorry” at all.
And unless we put aside all other political considerations except prayers for wisdom as we choose candidates, there’s not much we can do about society as a whole, either. Nor is it a time to decry the staggering numbers of so-called “illegals” “straining the system.”
The truth is that for years, Robeson County has been the poorest county in North Carolina, and as far back as I believe 2009, the 80th poorest county in the US. That is where we live: among many who go to bed hungry every night, as a way of life, never remembering anything else.
What we can do is do something for these 30-plus identified children who, in the words of one adult leadership participant in the local Communities in Schools program, said “When these children go home, they have literally nothing to eat. There is no food in these houses.”
Hard to believe, isn’t it? Especially when often our biggest issue is whether to eat, when we really don’t need to. Or when…. Or what…. Or where… at home or in/from one of the growing number of tasty options around town.
For those whose Sunday school lesson Scriptures this past Sunday centered around helping the poor and feeding the hungry as Old Testament mandates, doing something in situations such as this is also a God-sanctioned duty, a way of obedience reflecting both gratitude for His more-than-enough provision and our compassion for those for whom life provides neither enough nor an adequate “safety net.” And they include these 30-plus children who live in our Red Springs School District.
What can we do? Well, we have choices. We can read this and say “I had no idea! This is such a shame.” … and turn the page. Or, we can say, “This is a disgrace! I surely hope somebody does something about this.” Or, we can decide to be one of those somebodies!
How can we do that? Well, you can help these children by supporting the FMA Senior Beta Club by mailing or dropping off contributions at the office of FMA on College Street, marked for the “Beta Club Back-Pak Project.”
Or you can bring by the Academy office packs of single-serving, non–perishable foods such as puddings, fruit cups, low-sugar juices, crackers, Ramen noodles, etc. Or, even more nourishing, you can donate pop-top cans of Vienna sausages, Beenie-Weenies, Spaghetti-O’s, soups, etc.
Someone in the Friendship Class at First Baptist — which agreed this past Sunday to support these children by bringing items to the classroom for me to carry to FMA on Monday mornings — said they had heard that it takes about $20 of foodstuffs to pack a back-pack for one child for one weekend.
May I challenge you — whether by a $20 donation or a similar amount of food — change a hungry Red Springs-area child’s world at least once a month. It’s so simple to do!
Have a good week!