Feeding People

“The point is that food isn’t just food. It’s not just a mechanism for sustaining us for ministry. It’s a gift, generosity, grace. Jesus gave thanks and broke bread. In so doing, he affirms that food is to be received as a gift from God. Food matters as matter. It’s a physical substance and part of God’s good world. We’re to embrace the world as it is-not merely as a picture of some other spiritual world. Food is a central ingredient in our experience of God’s goodness.”  Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus

To me feeding people’s bellies is akin to feeding their souls. Being a mom of five and a pediatrician, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of feeding children healthy, wholesome foods. I have also, unfortunately, witnessed many cases of malnutrition and obesity in my pediatric population and I longed to change that. Hornsby Farms has been feeding my family with farm-raised produce and through my relationship with Beth Hornsby, God orchestrated the beginnings of a beautiful collaboration which resulted in Nourish, AL.

When Beth and I first began discussing the idea of feeding families in our community, our starting point was the word “Nourish”. Nourish means to provide food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition. Many government funded programs do not provide adequate financial assistance for fresh produce so that was an obvious need in our community. It’s been shown that without proper nutrition, including fresh fruits and vegetables, children cannot reach their full intellectual or physical potential. Also, as mentioned above, obesity is such a prevalent problem in the pediatric and adult populations and it was our desire to instill healthy eating habits in children that would extend into adulthood. Our goal in starting Nourish was to meet a base level requirement of healthy nutrition for children and families which would hopefully enable them to succeed in all dimensions of life.

Our vision for this program was to holistically meet the needs of resource limited families, first through weekly fresh produce bags and with the ultimate goal of meeting other needs as well. The most beautiful thing about this program thus far has been getting to know the families we are serving. We have volunteers who regularly deliver produce bags to our families so they see the same faces every week and, in turn, develop relationships with them.  It’s through these relationships we have cultivated with the families that we are able to discover what areas they truly need help in. We have been able to meet these needs through Nourish, AL or connect them to other resources in the community. Also, most importantly, we have been able to give hope and slowly restore dignity to the families we serve. We have been changed so much through the process of giving to and loving on the families that we assist. Sometimes I honestly wonder who is being helped more, us or the recipients of the Nourish bags.

The only way that Nourish, AL can continue to serve our community is through the help of volunteers who deliver the produce bags and through donations. If you are interested in learning more about Nourish, AL please go to www.squareup.com/store/nourishal or email nourishalbaskets@gmail.com. Also be on the lookout for details regarding our next Farm to Table Fundraising Dinner which will take place on the evening of March 23rd, 2017.

Contributed by Katie Wolter.