From a young age, children learn in school about food, water, shelter and space being the top essential items of survival. How is it that we aim to instill something like this in youth yet hunger is one of the worlds leading causes of trouble? How is it that many people do not know where their next meal may come from? Living paycheck to paycheck is not just any expression but rather a very real reality for many.
Some of the statistics in regards to our hungry loved ones, friends, and neighbors are is downright frightening. There are many people in trouble and yes, we constantly hear about the woes of the economy and yes people are quick to jump to their political party affiliations as a means of justifying “their side.”
The truth is the real issue lies within each of us, not from how you register to vote. What happened to the concept of loving thy neighbor, brother, person in line next to you? Religion has nothing to do with honoring certain notions. It would do every one a bit of good to investigate ways to A) give back if you find yourself on the fortunate “I have dinner every night” side of the fence or B) learn of ways to seek assistance if you have fallen on hard times.
Recently, Megkhyde.com spoke with Mark Perez, who serves within the Community Relations division of the Orlando based organization Community Food and Outreach (CFOC). This establishment’s mission is clear as they aim “to provide a hand up for those in need, helping them to break free from poverty by offering hunger relief, crisis care, transformative education, and employment training opportunities.”
Offering further insight Perez states, “We all need to come together as a community. This is where we live, work and play. This is where we raise our children. We have a vested interested in Central Florida being as inclusive and prosperous as possible.”
Perez, who found himself “drawn to nonprofit sectors”, shares how he was immediately motivated by the CFOC saying, “I did a tour of the campus and was really inspired by the message of a hand-up, not a hand out. CFOC is not here to be just another food pantry.”
Perez shared the entire vision of the CFOC, saying the “CFOC and its leaders saw a need to move beyond giving out free food. They saw a need to get at the causes of poverty and hunger in a person’s life. Poverty or hunger are just symptoms of a larger disease. What causes someone to end up in these situations, and how can we, as an organization, help them realize their full potential as people? So, we strive to provide holistic services: educational and employment opportunities, housing, food assistance, medical care, substance abuse counseling, domestic violence counseling…you name it.”
With a rise in crisis, on many fronts, there is a need to either get or give help so please look to organizations such as the Community Food and Outreach Center. If you can lend your time to assist someone striving for hope that they can achieve a better way of life, then contact the CFOC to learn further about volunteer opportunities. Perez advised how important volunteerism is to the ambitions of the center.
“We all need to do more to support the local organizations who are on the front lines fighting the tough battles that every major metropolitan area faces. We’d love to see people get involved with us through volunteerism food drives, monetary donations, etc. Speaking of volunteering, we need to fill over 100 shifts a day to keep our huge operation running effectively. So, volunteers are an absolute necessity for CFOC.”
Stand up today and remember the need to help those in need. Whether you can offer five hours, five months, or five dollars to this fight, all is appreciated. If you need a hand up from hard times, then reach. There are people ready to reach back with various forms of help.