Thursday, November 01, 2007

Food...for "needy" people only

Let me preface this blog by saying that I'm not criticizing Central Market for their Feast of Sharing. The flyer I receive simply provoked a thought that I needed to process and I thought might be worth sharing.

I received this email this morning:
Central Market's Feast of Sharing!
This FREE event promises to be a wonderful evening for those in our community in need of a hot meal, fellowship, information and fun.

Feast of Sharing will be held NEXT Wednesday, November 7th from 4:00pm - 8:00pm at Fair Park – Centennial Building.

Our mobile kitchen will pull into town on Monday and cooking will commence. Over one thousand volunteers have registered to help on the night of the dinner. We are preparing to serve 10,000 meals to those in need. Everything is falling into place – the only thing left is make sure folks know about the Feast of Sharing and are encouraged to attend!

Please continue to share information about the dinner with everyone you know who would benefit from this opportunity. Anyone in need of food and friendship should be encouraged to attend. Parking is free at Fair Park and free transportation is being provided from 8 locations around the city – see the attached flyer for details.

In addition to the sit-down turkey dinner, there will be live entertainment, including gospel choirs, a jazz ensemble, vocalists and a band. The children’s activity area will feature arts & crafts, games and a bounce house. A shower/laundry facility will be on site for our guests to utilize. Many social service agencies will also be on hand to provide information about various resources available throughout the community.

We look forward to this year’s Feast of Sharing being a successful start to a yearly tradition. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, or if you need additional flyers, posters or information. We appreciate your support.

First of all, let me encourage everyone to attend...and pass the word along to others you know. It looks like a great event!

Here's my question.

As you read about the Feast of Sharing, did you immediately plan to attend? ...or did you think more about how you could volunteer to help the "people in need?" ...or did you just think about what great things people in Dallas are doing for those "less fortunate" in the community?

As I read about the event, I wanted to be a part of it. But I read that it was a "free" event for those "in need." Because it is "free" to people "in need," I knew I probably wasn't the person they were targeting. I wondered what kind of looks I would get from those serving if I went a recipient.

I thought of our Central Dallas Pumpkin Festival last weekend that was such a great community event for matter your status in life. It was an event for our ENTIRE, poor, single, married, kids, families, old, come together and enjoy each other. There were no ulterior motives of doing anything for the "poor people" around us. It was just a fun event to bring people from all walks of life together. If you walked over to the Pumpkin Festival, I'm guessing you would have had no idea who was poor, rich, or anything in between.

Does it strike anyone that when we say an event is for those "in need," it promotes an us-verses-them mindset...and an expectation that all of the people "with" stand on one side (the serving end) while all of those "without" stand on the other side (the receiving end)?

I forwarded the email to some of my friends who are more "in need" (financially speaking) than I am so they could either choose to go or pass it on. I received an email back saying, "Are you going to this? I think I am."

When I got the email, I thought about how crazy and patronizing it would sound for me to email back and say, "No, I'm not going. This event is for people in need."

So, I decided. I'm going. I'm going to sit at a table with my friends and enjoy the festivities.

Whether you are "in need" or not, I would encourage you all to attend. Let me know if you plan on going and I'll look for you. I'm sure we will have a great time.

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