Editor’s Note: Today’s blog entry is a reprint of an April 2005 column by Harry Adams, a regular contributor to our quarterly Volunteer Voices newsletter. His words of wisdom are timeless.
The way we view our world depends on our perspective.
There is a story about a ship passing through a channel at night that saw another light, and blinked at it: change course.
The light blinked back: you change course.
The ship responded: VIP on board, you change course.
Again the light blinked back: you change course.
The ship tried again: you change course, I’m a battleship.
The light blinked back: you change course, I’m a lighthouse.
We can see hunger and homelessness from very different perspectives. Some of us believe we can avoid the problem by just not looking at it and, maybe, it will go away. Others know that there are hungry people out there, but think “Somebody” ought to do something about it.
Still others blame the hungry for their plight. If they hadn’t wasted their opportunities; if they hadn’t been so irresponsible; if they hadn’t had so many children they couldn’t support; if they hadn’t thrown away all their money gambling or drinking; if they hadn’t…it goes on and on. However we put it, the perspective is that the hungry are hungry because they don’t deserve any better.
Volunteers have a different perspective on the human situation. They know that no one is perfect, not even themselves, and are aware that some of the hungry may not be “deserving.”
But they also know that, whatever the needy might have or haven’t done, they shouldn’t have to go hungry. They know that many of the hungry have done nothing wrong to cause their need: the innocent children, the victims of bad economic times, the disabled, the abused.
Volunteers believe they have the right perspective on the world when they perceive that helping to feed the hungry is one of the good things people can do in their world.
Posted by Harry Adams, who was a faculty member and chaplain at Yale University for 45 years, and is a member of Connecticut Food Bank’s volunteer family.
To volunteer for Connecticut Food Bank, please contact Kim Damien, Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203.469.5000 ext. 311.