Special delivery for Jim Freeman

Seeds
03/08/2013

Special delivery for Jim Freeman


At about the same time each weekday, for the better part of the last decade, a volunteer from Mobile Meals can be seen walking up the stairs of Jim Freeman’s porch with a special delivery: a warm meal.

The meals that Jim counts are made possible by funding from ELCA World Hunger.

Sometimes the delivery is accompanied by a newspaper or by dog food to feed Jim’s trusty companion. On Christmas, there’s a gift. On his birthday, cake. When he’s not feeling well, a registered nurse will come to check on him. A chaplain will frequently stop by to pray.

At 88, it has become increasingly difficult for Jim, of Spartanburg, S.C., to get around. Visiting the doctor, going to church, even grocery shopping and cooking -- everyday tasks -- can be tough.

Jim’s wife recently passed away after a 22-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, and his two adult children have moved away. With no other income besides his monthly Social Security payments, Jim lives below the poverty level.

You can imagine what it must feel like to have someone to count on. Thanks to Mobile Meals, Jim can count on someone.

Mobile Meals opened their doors on October 3, 1997. That day they served 25 meals with 15 volunteers. Today Mobile Meals has grown to serve nearly 2,000 residents with the help of approximately 150 volunteers. Your gifts to ELCA World Hunger helped make this possible.

By 4 o’clock each morning, several volunteers are already huddled together in a large kitchen, preparing food, filling trays and packing coolers for the deliveries of the day. No one diet is perfect for everyone, so each meal is prepared carefully — with added vitamins, limited salt or whatever it takes to help each individual manage chronic illnesses and stay healthy.

The majority of recipients are over the age of 60, many living on monthly incomes of less than $800.

“Sometimes I get to feeling selfish,” Jim says. “I know, I know in my heart, there are a lot of people in this town who are worse off than I am. And sometimes I feel like I should not be accepting this. But then I, as they say today, ‘crunch the numbers,’ and without help, I would not eat the way I do.”

“When I started Mobile Meals, I understood the realities of hunger,” says Jayne McQueen, the president and CEO, “but what I didn’t understand was the devastation of loneliness.”

And that’s where Mobile Meals really found its niche. In addition to providing healthy, nutritious meals for the elderly, it provides companionship. Visitors, registered nurses and chaplains all pitch in to help those in need. “Sometimes they look forward to the visit as much as they do the meal,” says Ralph Gillespie, a local volunteer from Holy Communion Lutheran Church in Spartanburg.

Jim’s story is just one of millions of stories about lives changed by your gifts to ELCA World Hunger. The new ELCA World Hunger video series helps bring these stories to life. Offering a unique glimpse of real people faced with hunger and poverty, these videos tell four different stories -- including Jim’s -- and viewers can learn about how ELCA World Hunger is making a difference.

About the video series

The video series includes the story of January and Telina Lingson, husband and wife living in Kaseleka, Malawi, who overcome hunger through agricultural training and the gifts of livestock -- pigs and goats, to be exact.

You can watch as Virginia Quispe, of La Paz, Bolivia, uses a microloan to improve her small business and thrive in a community where more than half of the population lives below the poverty line.

Be with the Kafley family moments after they arrive at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and begin a new life after spending 18 years as refugees in Nepal.

In each story, gifts to ELCA World Hunger are evident, offering long-term solutions to poverty and a fresh start.

The videos average six minutes in length and are perfect for Sunday mornings, adult forums and youth group gatherings. Consider using these videos during Lent, or dedicating a month to celebrating the work being done through ELCA World Hunger and showing a video each week.

View and download the videos at the ELCA World Hunger Web site. The series is also available on DVD and can be purchased online or by calling 800-638-3522, ext. 2580.

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