Feeding Pittsfield for Thanksgiving

I can’t quite get started working on stuff for church.  The need to produce a sermon weekly is pretty relentless, even in this shortened week of Thanksgiving.  I should be working, but feel I need to post this.

I spent the early part of this afternoon at South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, the church across the street from First Baptist.  Many people distributed food to people in Pittsfield who needed a turkey and the fixings for their Thanksgiving dinner.  What does food for around 800 families look like?

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We had potatoes.  Hundreds of pounds of them.  We had a few hundred pounds of sweet potatoes, too.  Tables were filled with cakes and pies.  We had cases and cases and cases of cranberry sauce and vegetables.  We had loads of butternut squash.  We had boxes and bags of stuffing – so much that they could barely stay on the table.  We had more bread than you could imagine.  And we had turkeys, four to a box, which filled the kitchen.

Today’s event began last month.  South Congregational Church qualifies to receive food from the Western Massachusetts Food Bank.  They learned that the turkey allocation for Pittsfield this year was 25 cases.  With four turkeys to the case that’s only 100 turkeys.  The faith community collaborated to ensure that we could provide turkeys to as many people we could by centralizing distribution at South.  The community was very generous to provide all the food.

The slideshow only provides a glimpse of what this quantity of food looks like.  And as impressive as this is, you’d expect your heart to soar, I’m bothered.

I’m bothered because so many people need this food.  It put a human face on poverty in this city. I’m guessing many were working poor.  Some of the people I knew.  It’s sobering to see this much poverty in our midst.

I was at a Sustainable Berkshires meeting last week and mentioned this distribution.  Jaws dropped around the table.  It is not that people didn’t know there was poverty, but to see it so clearly is disturbing.

I couldn’t let this pass without commenting.

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About Quentin Chin

Eclectic interests: religion, technology, food, music, current events. I live in the reality-based world.
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