Putting Food On All Tables

High Plains Food Bank, USA
High Plains Food Bank, USA


Please note that if you have hungry impoverished people in your region, you can find ways to get financial and food donations from various individuals and groups, such as farmers at markets or at their farms, religious groups, charitable organizations, grocery stores and other sources. So they are worthwhile to pursue.

While you might not have immediate success on a large scale, such actions can grow into a big organization. Witness:

Hunger is a serious health problem for more than 50 million Americans. That is 1 in 6 of the U.S. population – including more than 1 in 5 children. ~ From Hunger in Worcester County – Worcester County Food Bank

Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB) is the region’s leading anti-hunger organization distributing over 6 million pounds of donated food and grocery product in partnership with food donors, financial supporters, and volunteers. WCFB provides this product to a network of 128 Partner Agencies that have programs for feeding people including food pantries, community meal sites, and shelters.

WCFB also advocates within the community and at the state and federal levels for systemic and sustainable solutions to the problem of hunger.

WCFB’s mission is to engage, educate, and lead Worcester County in creating a hunger-free community.

95 percent of all donated resources go directly towards creating a hunger-free community. – About Us – Worcester County Food Bank (The rest mostly goes to modest salaries, upkeep of the food bank facility, gas for vehicles to distribute food and the like. – S.)


… and at the state and federal levels for systemic and sustainable solutions to the problem of hunger.

So how did it start? Janet Ward went to a Catholic Bishop, prayed with him and pleaded for money to begin the project and a small space for it. So he gave her $5,000 USD (not a huge sum of money in the USA) and a large closet to store food since she touched his heart and her message seemed to him to be from the Lord, God of all. … She was so fervent and dedicated that he couldn’t resist and gave Church donated money to her, money gathered a few dollars at a time from parishioners in church after church, from not wealthy people by any means … From a tiny seed and a mere small thought in a single person’s mind, a whole giant tree benefitting many can grow!

Someone also gave her an old broken-down truck to collect and distribute food. So her plan began with only herself to carry it out! … and the tree that she’d initially envisioned in her mind grew bigger and bigger – six million pounds per year bigger.

My daughter, as a young child, and I used to donate our time at the central Massachusetts, USA food bank and Janet Ward, this food bank’s founder and director, was our friend. There we loved, truly loved, putting cans and boxes of donated food into larger boxes to go to the poor.

It made us feel good to help others, many of whom had multiple jobs for eighteen hours a day at close to minimum wage, be well fed, along with their children, grandmothers, grandfathers and other family members. We simply enjoyed feeding them, along with providing sustenance to the others, the ones without homes. (There are plenty of homeless people living on streets around us, too.)


We’d envision the hungry people in our imaginations eating the food that we’d assembled and smile. We strongly wanted them to thrive. We wanted goodness to prevail for all people in our region.

One day, though, Janet questioned her choice in starting the food bank. She mentioned to me that it was only supposed to be a temporary relief agency and not a life-long lifestyle to be used. She was concerned that she’d aided and abetted permanent impoverishment through making it too easy for families, year after year, getting free food rather than getting so irate that they stood up in rejection of a social system that had them working practically around the clock and not being able to make ends financially meet.

If deprived in the extreme, they might rise up to reject the socially and economically wrongful pattern of poverty. If they got food from the food bank, they may lapse into complacency instead was Janet’s thinking.

Yet there’s another problem that she didn’t consider at the time. It is this:

As it is food banks and local food pantries not reliant on the banks are dishing out millions upon millions of pounds of food each year in the USA. What if the number of the poor people increase due to our taking in a huge number of poor people from ecologically collapsed regions of the world? Where will we find food for them, too? How can they join the mix? Who will pay for housing and other necessities that they need?

Our social services here in central MA and local government are already on the verge of being inundated with the number of the impoverished people already existing in our region. So where are funds to derive to serve ever more as these people, described at the link below, are desperate to find safe havens for their families and themselves?

Yet, why should they be deprived? Why should ANYONE?

20 Million at Risk of Famine In U.N.’s “Largest Humanitarian Crisis …

Accordingly we need a new system in place so that they can be subsumed in new regions without putting a strain on our already maxed out social and economic systems. In short, we need to devise a new way forward. We desperately need it!

Do you think that the problem is going to get better over time as the human population rises to 11 to 15.8 billion people by the end of this century and as more regions disassemble from our staggering human number increase inundating the natural environments surrounding them/us?

What of resource depletions and climate change impacts aiding the breakdown? How is this daunting, almost insurmountable dilemma to be solved?

Yet we do whatever we individually can to serve those, who by no fault of their own, are in need. It IS, indeed, a joyous task!

Accordingly I had some great moments at the food bank. For example, I spent hours blanking out the kosher code on boxes of donated food that had inadvertently not been blessed by a Rabbi. My companions in the task were three Hasidim rabbis. What fun they were as we opened up frankly to each other during the boring task that went onward for hours on end with the smelly toxic permanent markers.

Another day I learned from the warehouse manager, a fellow from Puerto Rico, about a beautiful musical instrument made by one of his friends in the Caribbean. It was a guitar, a gorgeous sounding one, crafted from old tuna fish cans!

How fascinating! How resourceful members of our species can be! (I can picture the guitar maker sitting by the roaring ocean and playing music as the glittering surging surf rolled towards him.)

Janet had brought such above engrossing people into my life. She also introduced me to an especially amazing duo — Rose and Bill Abbot. Gosh, did I love them!

Bill would bring his elderly pick-up truck practically every week to the food bank with fresh food from his farm. He and Rose, over the years, donated MILLIONS OF DOLLARS worth of fresh produce, including in the winter when they relied on hydroponic growth, indoor greenhouses and an old dilapidated barn.

They could have sold it all, all of their produce, and made a financial boon to live the high-life.. Instead they chose to give it away.

They lived in a very old home and only turned on heat in the parlor when company came. Otherwise they turned on the electric blanket on their bed to stay warm or used layers of clothes as they moved across their cold house in the winter.

They also were dedicated advocates of an early-release program from local prisons and had prisoners on their farm healing from their travesties by giving back to society. Both Rose and Bill thought that their giving back to society by hoeing, planting plants and putting produce in crates to help the poor helped the criminals to learn to be a part of a society in a good way.

(You should have seen little old scrawny Rose, so diminutive and shrunken in stature, instructing these big burly prisoners about their tasks at hand. What a riot, and they obeyed due to her absolute fervency and fierce adamancy!)

Rose told me that, in addition, the sunshine, wind and the feel of soil in a field could help them to inward wholeness. I agreed as I watched these workers go all-out to carry out farm work for Janet’s food bank and other places, such as homeless shelters in Boston.

Some of the prison workers seemed to love Rose as much as I did! Many passed through hers and Bill’s lives over the years, and they did their best strongest effort to help each of them become better human beings.


One day, Bill suffered a heart attack while driving his truck and it went with him blanked out down a steep incline off of the road into a field. Behind him was a car carrying an EMT on the way to work, someone who quickly took the same path downward in his car despite the damage that it could cause to his car across the bumpy roadless slope while following the exact path of the truck. Then the emergency medical technician ran up to Bill’s truck, hauled him out of it and quickly begin to perform CPR to keep Bill alive until an ambulance came, one he had called from his unit while racing down the slope in quick pursuit.

… You know the drill once you get the body gently prone: Heavy rapid chest thrusts strong enough to crack ribs so as to keep the heart functioning followed by breaths mouth to mouth with the head fully tilted back to open the airway to provide oxygen, and then repeated again and again the pattern until other help arrives. … Thus, Bill survived.

Rose was suffering her own severe health issues at the same time and I often took her to medical appointments. So I told them both that they needed to start planning for the future.

I told them to call a meeting with all of their contacts, a lawyer to legally set up the plan and myself. Then we could all work together to figure out a way forward for their personal food project after their mutual demise, their deaths. So we did it and this is what ultimately came of the effort: Community Harvest Project – Volunteer farming for hunger relief.

Janet, meanwhile, married a former Vietnam War soldier, who suffered from PTSD. So sometimes he’d hear a helicopter go across the lake on which he and Janet lived and relive being in a war zone while the aircraft was simply bringing victims to a hospital across the lake. Yet he’d go into a panic and imagine being under assault. How awful! Flashback!

I told her that she simply needed to get him the medical help that he needed. I also reminded her that our immune systems resist assault just as her husband did with larger contrary forces of humans bombarding him while in Asia as they shot guns back and forth at each other. How crazy and alarming!


The bigger scoop, though, is this:

When Americans were asked whether the federal government was spending too little on “assistance to the poor”, 65% agreed. When they were asked whether it was spending too little on “welfare”, 25% agreed. – George Monbiot

I will always love Janet, Rose and Bill. They’re my kind of supporters of life. So I found this following news heartening.

Farm looks to return to its Hopkinton roots – MetroWest Daily News


… That’s when accountant Bill Abbott and his wife, Rose, moved in. … pantries, eventually forming Food for the Needy and inviting volunteers and …

conserve the Historic Elmwood Farm in Hopkinton – Community …

www.communitypreservation.org › Success Stories › Open Space

A family farm for more than 200 years, Elmwood Farm is the original home of Food for the Needy, a local organization founded by Bill and Rose Abbot in the …

Let’s do it! Let’s revitalize the Abbott farm and other similar efforts around the world. Let’s honor Janet, Rose, Bill and others in the well-needed action that furthers their collective legacy in service to practically destitute others, whose population number keeps growing in my area of Massachusetts!

Why not set up food banks and farms across the globe? Why not?

I’m all out for this gain in farm land and overall aid. However, I’m not very positive overall. Asimov well sums up my gloom:

As he wrote:


  • [In response to this question by Bill Moyers: What do you see happening to the ideaof dignity to human species if this population growth continues at its present rate?] “It’s going to destroy it all. I use what I call my bathroom metaphor. If two people live in an apartment, and there are two bathrooms, then both have what I call freedom of the bathroom, go to the bathroom any time you want, and stay as long as you want to for whatever you need. And this to my way is ideal. And everyone believes in the freedom of the bathroom. It should be right there in the Constitution. But if you have 20 people in the apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up, you have to set up times for each person, you have to bang at the door, aren’t you through yet, and so on. And in the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, but it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies.


Nonetheless, others and I will keep pushing positive developments forward. The alternative is to watch our neighbors and their children practically starve! What an unacceptable choice for all of us here in the USA (or anywhere) to endure!

It’s a stark choice. It comes down to an either-or situation.

Either we neglect and abandon our fellow humans or we can forcefully and deliberately thrust ourselves with the force that Janet Ward and the Abbots had in a direction to support those, who face incredibly terrifying and horrific conditions related to basic lacks in whatever they need to stay alive!

If their lives are devalued and dismissed as a nothingness, so is yours. None of us from that perspective have any intrinsic worth and it’s simply the luck of the draw, instead, in terms of whom gets whatever in whatever degree to support his or her life. All life gets cheapens in that way of thinking as we reject aid for whomever (even possibly yourself at some point) confronts desperate circumstances.

Please don’t leave a thrust against helpfulness for them to be derived from just a small number of us to confront. It’s too much of a burden on our few shoulders alone. We’re too slight in numbers given the massive worldwide need.

… So what do you personally choose? Are you going to live in a little safe bubble of self-serving aims or are you going to relentlessly push forward despite all odds as has done Janet, Rose, Bill, my sister, my daughter and ever so many further people, who have elected to serve universal betterment?

Just pick your own position and, then, act if you want to join our ranks! We do need you ever so much these days! We can’t certainly leave relief up to our government leaders, nor to a small number of us.

Please join our shoring up effort! We have to have you with us more now than ever these days as need grows amongst us!

Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA.


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