Every so often in this world hunger ending conversation and experience that is Soup Kitchen, (http://www.soupkitcheninc.com/ ) I run into the mindset that says more or less (ok actually less, this mindset never says more) “Isn’t feeding the hungry just putting a band aid on the problem and (if they want to seem really enlightened) not addressing the root causes or issues?”
(Is it wrong that one of my initial internal reactions is to think about reaching out and giving them a, very small and hopefully not painful, cut on their arm and asking them to repeat the question?)
As someone who has spent most of his life in some form of a professional cooking environment, I can honestly say, “If you need a band aid, use a band aid!”
Answering the issues underlying (since the issues never tell the Truth) hunger issue will be easier for everyone if their stomachs aren’t screaming during the process.
So assuming that “yes” isn’t enough of an answer, let’s address the bigger question. It’s the age old quandary of feeding a man a fish or teaching a man to fish. The real question here though, is who’s doing the fishing, and what’s the intended catch. In “The Conversation of Soup” it is not the person in need who is doing the fishing (they already know they are hungry and are most likely doing what they can in the moment to address that…… so get over it). The fisherman is the person who is already “catching their fish”; whether feeding themselves, or their family, Soup Kitchen simply takes that energy and matches it with the intention (and application) of “casting a larger net”. I find it more productive to teach a fisherman to fish better, than to convince someone who won’t go near the water, to fish.
You don’t solve the issue by addressing the energy that seems to perpetuate the issue. You expand upon the answer already in place that doesn’t recognize the issue in the first place. (Kind of a take on the Einstein quote about not solving a problem with the same consciousness that created it in the first place.) When we (Soup Kitchen) donate a portion of soup for every portion sold, feeding the hungry is actually a byproduct. The real intention is to create a habitual action of compassion and sharing of our abundant resources. If we are to know that there is enough (and more than enough) for everyone, we all must act accordingly.
And by the way, the act of applying a band aid, whether as an act of triage, a simple answer to a small wound, or a loving placebo to a frightened child (I’m a parent too), first and foremost, sets the intention of healing.
Just as an actual band aid facilitates the bodies natural healing process, the metaphorical “band aid” of helping someone in need by actually helping them in their moment of need, facilitates the specie’s natural healing process. If it is within us to care about ourselves, and then we can expand that to our “loved ones”, it is only our own sense of limitation that prevents us caring about everyone.
To that I simply say this. Bon Appétit
“Together we can change the way the world helps.”