I have been a follower and supporter of the Four Chicks for a long time now. While I enjoy reading the stories they post and have even dabbled in creative works of my own, only recently have I been inspired to share this creativity with others.
Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer for a few hours at a local food bank, America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend (www.fightinghunger.org/). While we were there, the volunteer coordinator gave us a tour of their facilities, which are amazing, and told us a little about what their organization does. I was saddened to hear that she herself, a United States Military veteran, had been a recipient of their services.
This group, with the help of their parent organization – Feeding America, the USDA, and generous donations from and area businesses distributed over 5 million pounds of food last year, and served 44,000 people in one month alone. Their service area includes 11 counties in the Big Bend area of North Florida. The statistics are staggering.
- 1 in 6 people do not know where their next meal will come from.
- Of those, 1 in 4 is a child.
- For many of these children, the free or reduced breakfast or lunch they get at school on Monday is the first meal they have had since the same free lunch the previous Friday.
I can only imagine the terror and desperation that a child who is hungry feels. I hope I never know the hopelessness a parent must feel seeing their child go hungry or, possibly worse, depending on that child to provide food for the family. The sad truth is that you never know what circumstances will bring to your life. All you can do is prepare the best that you can, and hope you never have to rely on those preparations.
You may be asking yourself what all this has to do with a creativity blog. I actually thought of the Four Chicks and their idea of finding inspiration and creativity all around us while listening to our coordinator talk about all of their different projects. When you are battling against such overwhelming statistics and serving such a large community, you have to get a little creative.
- BackPack Program: Children receive backpacks on Fridays with food to feed their family through the weekend. It’s not five course meals, but it keeps them from going wholly without.
- Summer Food Program: Children receive meals and snacks at a sponsored site. Have you ever wondered what those children who need the free and reduced lunches do when school is out?
- Brown Bags for Seniors: Bags of food supplies and groceries are provided for impoverished seniors. Elderly in need are often as helpless as children. When your fixed income doesn’t cover your basic needs, where do you turn?
- Second Helpings: Excess prepared or perishable foods from local restaurants are distributed to partner agencies who serve prepared meals. This not only adds to the number of people fed, but also reduces waste!
- Food Fund Drives: Through the efforts of Feeding America, these food banks can purchase food supplies at significant discounts. Your dollar goes further when donated directly to the organization than if you buy the food yourself.
These are just a few of the creative ways they battle against hunger. I imagine few, if any, of their staff and volunteers consider their work to be creative. All the same, it was a muse to this budding artist.
Inspiration and creativity live everywhere. You may not be an artist, musician, writer, or any other traditionally “creative” person. This doesn’t mean that creativity doesn’t exist within you. Any time you are inspired by something, a little creativity is blossoming somewhere inside of you. Reach for that creativity and let it guide you to your outlet.
Nancy Williams, Orlando, FL