This is a very simple video with images of King Wenceslas. What I like the most about it is the music, sung by Loreena McKennitt. The origin of the legend of King Wenceslas is said to be Wenceslas I, Duke of Bohemia (907-935). It is written of him that he would go during the night to churches where he would give generous alms to the poor.
Several months ago, around the time of the recent presidential election, one of my neighbors spearheaded the effort to start a food pantry in our county. At the time, I was planning to vote for Sarah Palin, and I thought, "She's just a regular mom, and look what she has accomplished just by getting involved with her community." I am, by nature, sort of a hermit. I have no political aspirations, but I thought a food pantry was something I could support and it would get me out of the house once in a while. So in all my naivete, I began attending the meetings. My eyes have been opened.
My contribution to the operation of the food pantry mostly consists of sitting in on the occasional meeting to listen and nod agreement to whatever is going on. I nod a lot. Occasionally I put in my two cents worth, like during a recent discussion of whether donated funds ought to be used for things like toilet paper or reserved strictly for food. (Believe it or not, someone had once strongly objected to buying toilet paper if there wasn't enough donated.) I was pro-toilet paper, but so was everyone else, and the bylaws were amended to include the use of donated funds to purchase some personal hygiene items, such as soap and toilet paper.
Other than being another warm body at meetings, I have helped to put together some shelves that were donated, helped to sort cans and stock shelves, and two or three times I've worked at the pantry on the days when the clients come in to receive boxes of food (and a roll of toilet paper). The pantry is only open twice a month, or when there is an emergency need. The idea is not to supply all needs, but to supplement other resources. I am in awe of all the other volunteers and the board members who put in so many, many more hours than I do.
I've seen seasonal workers who have no work in the winter. I've seen large families who have trouble making ends meet. I've seen people whose monthly income is less than what I make in a good week. I've seen people who don't make enough to pay all their bills and buy groceries, but who make too much to qualify for welfare or food stamps. I've seen people who have lost their jobs and are living out of a truck.
The sad thing is, until this year, I didn't know that this kind of need existed in my community. The sadder thing is, it's getting worse. Our tiny little food pantry is serving more people all the time. To paraphrase an old poem (I don't know the author) "God forgive me when I whine. I have a warm home; running water; cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer full of food; warm clothes; two cars; health insurance; a decent job; and my husband has a job. The world is mine."
So my spotlight today is your local food pantry or soup kitchen. Please make a donation this month. Tell them King Wenceslas sent you.
Remember, if you leave comments on my blog this month, you will be entered in my Boxing Day Giveaway. (One entry per blog post you comment on.) The winners will be drawn December 26th. Did you know Boxing Day was traditionally the day when rich people would take boxes of food to the poor? Just so you know.