Watching the news today is not pleasant. It is wearing as a virulent war wages across civilization, as political collaboration collapses into populist and plutocratic conflict, as millions of families experience layoff, job loss, mortgage foreclosure and eviction. If it isn’t the virus, it is stagnant racial conflict, it is the collapse of European democracy into authoritarian abuse, it is the elimination of whole societies as wars that should have ended long ago drag on for decades. If not these issues, it is the collapsing educational system, the disrespect for Constitutional government, the incompetence of elected officials who do not understand the path of history as it evolves into an unknown future. And it is the dwindling of global resources that is ignored by eighteenth century economics.
But there is good news. A movement is emerging. The first newsworthy awareness of this movement began in 2017 when José Andrés (full name, José Ramón Andrés Puerta), a famous chef with a chain of restaurants in Spain and the U.S., organized a charity kitchen to feed survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017. He fed hundreds of thousands. In 2019, Andrés repeated his charitable miracle in Marsh Harbor in the Bahamas when Hurricane Dorian devastated those islands. He established World Central Kitchen as a permanent organization that provides aid to victims of natural disasters.
Of course not everyone has the wherewithal to underwrite charity at such a scale but the better news is the hundreds of special efforts emerging to extend support to those in need. The characteristic of this movement is its local, unincorporated approach consisting of local volunteers and independent leaders, who have stepped up not just for hurricanes but for first responders, victims of the virus, job loss, and the generally needy who have no resources because of today’s disruptive world.
A good example is The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church located in Conneaut, Ohio where a female parishioner organized fellow church members to set up a free kitchen on Saturdays to feed the public so they would have food for the weekend.
Lisa Baker, a volunteer with the Food4Life Atlanta Survival Program, said she’s encouraged by the number of people who are volunteering their time to help. “The first couple of days, I kept hitting refresh on our database, and it was kinda scary watching how many volunteers signed up,” she said. “We have more than 900.”
Other examples are endless. It is clear that common citizens of every class, every religion and every community have stepped out of normal life to help others. Mariner’s term for this is ‘pass it forward’ but these compassionate folks are passing it forward in giant doses!
If you want relief from the terrible news broadcast, distract yourself by participating in the one real, valuable and progressive movement – helping today’s economic victims. Contribute cash, better yet jump in – it’s restorative.