PeaceWorks is pleased and honored to be collaborating with Brunswick’s Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program (MCHPP) on a new project and we hope you’ll want to get involved.

The new project we have in mind is simply SOUP: soup made from gleaned and excess foods. All the generous bounty offered by farmers, grocery stores and local businesses adds up to 797,000 pounds and allows for 318,000 meals! Not surprisingly, some of the vegetables get a little tired looking and don’t seem tempting as is. So….soup! We are looking for six volunteers who are intrigued by the idea of creating delicious soups out of gleaned and excess vegetables and herbs. These would be soups that can be frozen and offered at the food pantry or served at the soup kitchen. MCHPP has a licensed kitchen and all the necessary tools so the soup would be made there. I hope you’ll join me in thinking this could be fun!

It may be that you find yourself wondering what hunger has to do with Peace? Or did you, as those words formed in your mind, sense what the connection may be?

Living in the wealthiest nation in the world does suggest that all of us have plenty to eat; that we all have good educations, good jobs, adequate housing and access to healthy food. But in order for that to be true, our national priorities will need some serious re-ordering. That, of course, depends on you and me.

For far too long our personal offerings to the Common Good, due every April 15, have been funding a vast military as our top priority (53 cents of every tax dollar in 2016 – National Priorities Project). For far too long our leading national export has been weaponry rather than innovations in energy, agriculture, teaching, and medicine. Why is our government not modeled around human and environmental concerns?

I think you’ll agree that there should not be a need for the soup kitchens and food banks of our nation. So while we applaud the tireless and compassionate work that is done in an effort to meet the food needs of our community, we also weep for those forced to cope with the stigmas that go along with poverty. And we speak out with Bread for the World to our elected leaders insisting on changes in policy that will make hunger obsolete. Until that happens, too many of our neighbors will continue to struggle with the awful plague of hunger.

At the Peace Fair in August of 2012, MCHPP was awarded our Peace Maker Award. In presenting the award, John Dennen, who had won it in 2011, had this to say: “…hunger is the enemy of peace. Giving someone a meal does more than just feed him for a day. It elevates him above the harshness of mere survival, and alleviates the human stagnation caused by gross inequities in opportunity that have come to define the world that we live in today.

It may be that such fundamental unfairness has always hobbled us as a society. But today, we have come together to recognize how some among us have chosen to confront these perpetual injustices, with a recognition that all of us are diminished by the suffering of one individual, and all of us benefit when that individual is given a chance to rise above the still waters of living day-to-day. Such generosity is not simply charity. It is an investment in human potential, on behalf of us all.”

If you’d like to be part of the first Soup Group at MCHPP, please contact Mary Turner at [email protected] or at (207) 725-2716. We’ll come up with a day and time that works for all involved and we’ll see how the project evolves. PeaceWorks and the MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program look forward to your participation. See you there.

Rosalie Paul is a member of PeaceWorks. She lives in Brunswick.

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