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Rice & Beans

Posted: February 19, 2016

If you look at your Operation Rice Bowl calendar, you will see some delicious recipes. Most will contain some variety of rice and beans… There may be different spices or vegetables depending upon the country. Beef or chicken is a luxury. When we visit Guatemala … Rice and beans are always on the menu! When we travel to the aldeas, remote villages in the mountains, they always offer us a festive lunch with bowl soup with a big chunk of chicken. Fr. Pedro has shared that this is a rare luxury. Often they will offer us chicken, but not eat it themselves. It is saved for guests on a special occasion. We are humbled by their generosity….

Lent reminds us by eating less, skipping a meal or fasting that we join in solidarity with so many people who do not have enough. For many, fasting is a way of life and survival; it is not tied into a holiday. There are also many people who eat only tiny portions at meal time so the rest of their family will have enough.

We are reminded that we do not have to look far to see hunger… VEAP continues to expand in our backyard. It has been estimated that one in five families in Minnesota are struggling with hunger. Schools are trying to close the gap by offering breakfast and lunch to students living in poverty. Many schools are sending students home with backpacks filled with food for the weekends.

These trends in Minnesota reflect what is happening throughout the US. It is critical during an election year for people of faith to ask questions about our Social safety nets. Social Security has created stability for our elders and people with disabilities, and reduced poverty in America. It shows that government can work. We must challenge our politicians not to seek easy answers, but to seek to do right by the most vulnerable in our community.

Rice and Beans are a reminder of our shared journey as people of faith.