News-Star: Opinion

Compassion needs action

Here’s my latest letter to my daughter:

Your mom told me about the social you attended at school and how you were concerned, at the end, that so much food was going to waste. Your heart was in the right place, and I’m proud of you.

But compassion is better with action, so let’s think about how you could have gotten that leftover food in the mouths of needy people.

Here’s what I turned up on an Internet search:

•  The Community Table in nearby Dillsboro serves home-cooked meals from 4 to 6 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. It has a phone number,


, and an email address,

. I suspect it would have welcomed a donation of prepared food.

•  This website,

, lists a number of churches in Jackson and surrounding counties that operate food pantries. A food pantry isn’t really set up to handle cooked food, but it’s possible one some of the churches also serve hot meals on a weekly basis.

The point is that someone in Jackson County or nearby could have used that food. The first step was to find them; the Internet is a good resource.

After that, you would have needed a way to get the food to its intended recipient. The first thing I would have done was told, say, The Community Table that it was welcome to come fetch the food. Surely it has at least one vehicle capable of hauling a fair amount of food a short distance. Another option would have been to use your car and enlist the help and cars of friends if your car wasn’t enough. It’s also possible the caterer would have been willing to haul the food to The Community Table in exchange for, say, future business, a glowing review on Yelp or, at worst, a little more cash.

In other words, it’s always possible, I think, to get a good deed done. All you need is a little information – the name and location of a food pantry or homeless shelter – and a little resourcefulness, in this case, a way to get the food to the people who could have benefited from it.

It helps too, I think, to develop relationships. If you think you might find yourself in a similar situation again, introduce yourself to someone at The Community Table and to someone at a church with a food pantry or meal program. Get to know someone also at the caterer and maybe someone in university food services who could spare a little refrigerator space until you got the food to its recipient.

It’s often not what you know but who you know when it comes to making something good happen.

I’m proud of you for wanting not to waste food that could have fed hungry people. I’ll be even prouder next time when you make that happen.