“I was hungry and you gave me something to eat”
Befriend those who go without.
Jesus’ parable of the Sheep and the Goats reminds us that Christ is uniquely encountered in acts of love for the poor. Recall that the “love” is equally important as “for the poor.” Learn names, shake hands, embrace, listen attentively, play games, and cultivate friendships. If giving to the hungry has no intention of love, it is devoid of virtue.
Volunteer at soup kitchens.
Inquire at your parish how you can volunteer. If there are no opportunities ask your fellow parishioners and search online for local soup kitchens. If none exist already, establish connections between your local parish and the charity. Get your friends and family involved.
Purchase food for beggars.
Those who live in cities will often come across beggars. Instead of ignoring them, carry small bills to give. Be aware of local restaurants and offer to purchase and enjoy a meal with those in need. Those who do this frequently can establish friendships with both the poor and with eateries who may cooperate in providing free or discounted meals. If you, your family or your friends own a restaurant or food market, create a business charity for this purpose. If you are employed by such an establishment, urge them to do likewise.
Invite the poor into your home.
Whenever possible, especially on holy days and celebrations, invite the poor into your home to enjoy a meal. Practice generosity. When preparing fancy meals and eating well, remember those who go hungry.
Help your local community develop an urban gardening program.
If you live in an urban area, inquire at your parish and local organizations about urban gardening programs. If you have experience with such programs, contact us to contribute to Tradistae.
Avoid waste and give alms.
Before throwing out leftover food, look for opportunities to give it to others. Do not purchase more food than you are able to eat. If you notice that you end up throwing groceries away each week, purchase less groceries and donate the savings to those in need. If you own a restaurant, do all you can to give provide food waste as alms. Encourage your friends and family to do likewise.
Cook and bake for others.
The next time you make a recipe that can be easily frozen, make a double batch and donate one to your local food pantry or soup kitchen.
Donate to charities that feed the poor.
Many organizations are very effective at alleviating hunger. Inquire at your parish to see if any organizations are local partners. Include monthly donations in your budgeting.