The disciples look at the hungry crowd and want to send them away. Jesus looks at the same group, turns to the disciples, and says, “you feed them”.
This contrast remains with us. Sometimes, the need seems too great, the helplessness too insurmountable, the cause too vain. But the voice of Jesus echoes in my ears, “you feed them”.
The significance of my new job came to light when I visited a grocery store down the street from our building. This store, had almost no produce and what they had was turning from green to brown. I went in the store looking for Grape Nuts and could only find sugar-laden cereals. The cashier told the couple in front of me they need to cook or freeze the meat right away because it was going bad. These are words I never hear at the stores I shop.
As a result of this, people who live in deep poverty are then deprived of the nutrients needed to live healthy lives and make good decisions. People already living within an environment of continuos anxiety only have access to processed foods.
It is with this community that I get to help “feed them”. Every Tuesday morning, a truck with 10,000 pounds of produce arrives. People from the community help shlep an assortment of fruits and vegetables through ice and snow and in to the produce market, where people have the dignity to select their own free produce. A community with limited access to resources is empowered. A people who often receive judgment touch grace.