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These are hard times for everybody. The economy is tenuous, the unemployment rates, the numbers of people on food stamps have grown to unprecedented highs, and there is political gridlock in Washington, D.C.
The fact of the matter is, though, that our politicians mirror ourselves. For far too long we, as a nation and as individuals, have been living beyond our means. There is plenty of blame to pass around at every level of our society, with the singular exception of the poor. No matter how difficult the slide in the stock market, the cost of gasoline, the rising costs of food and essentials is for most of us, it is exponentially harder on the poor. It is always so.
This site is dedicated to feeding veterans who, for one reason or another, find themselves homeless and hungry. They need our help more now than when the economy is going well. How do we address this problem when we are afraid for our own security? This question requires mature consideration on the part of the whole of society. If we all fall back into a defensive position, thinking only of ourselves, taking care of "number 1", the irony is that we will only guarantee that things will get much worse. Now is the time to really practice the nobler side of our humanity. We need to care for each other. We must resist the temptation to radical self-concern.
This is the time to exercise the nobler nature we all share, the nature of compassion and companionship. The very word "companion" is derived from the Latin "com pane", meaning, "to break bread with". We are all in this together. The irony, of course, is that when we act positively toward others, when we support the other with our own effort and sacrifice, we also serve ourselves. If we sacrifice a little to make the lives of the poor among us better, we will in fact improve our own situations, spiritually, practically, and economically.
There is an old Vietnamese proverb that says, "Everyone in hell has three-foot-long chopsticks and they are starving. Everyone in heaven has three-foot-long chopsticks, but they feed each other.” If we spend our energy looking out only for ourselves, we will find only loneliness and frustration. If we look out for each other, we will find not only companionship, but healthy community as well.
We must not, in our own temporary suffering, forget the greater suffering of the poor, the weak, and the disenfranchised among us. It is during hard times that we are challenged to achieve our natural nobility as human beings. We have shown this nobility many times throughout our history as a nation. We are being called again, in these times of economic insecurity, to step beyond our narrower concerns of self-preservation, to get involved together in an effort to help those who are affected even more than ourselves.
Keep engaged in the effort to make a difference in the lives of veterans who temporarily find themselves homeless and hungry. By caring for others we care for ourselves. Everybody wins.