Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday December 18, 2001
Open hearts, wallets make merrier season
Poverty: Cry was never louder The huge, free Christmas dinner served to some 3,200 people by the Hamilton’s Good Shepherd Centres is a wonderful event that affirms the values of our community and of the holiday season.
But the dinner has almost nothing to do with feeding the poor. As greatly as the meal is appreciated and enjoyed, as much hard work and volunteer effort that goes into it, a bellyful of turkey on Sunday afternoon does little to ease the pangs of hunger mid-week when the cupboards are empty.
A Christmas dinner such as this is less about the food and more about the meal shared with others. It has more in common with a church’s potluck meal than with shelters and food banks. A communal meal is about feeding the soul, not the stomach.
Poverty isolates its victims, cutting them off from the so-called mainstream. A Christmas dinner such as this is, for many people in need, a rare time to feel part of a larger community. The weariness of living hand to mouth is assuaged, we can only hope, by sharing a meal with others who also share similar circumstances.
Humans are social animals, and there is little that brings us into more intimate contact with others than breaking bread with them. For the most marginalized in our society — the homeless, the runaways, the mentally ill — a shared meal may be a bright spot in the bleakness of winter on the streets. (Hamilton Spectator)