Alice Welter

Daniel Berrigan, Catholic priest, poet, teacher, peace activist and convicted felon (civil disobedience) said:

“Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought it or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.”

Why would Berrigan want us to see the look on a starved man’s face “when the bread finally arrives”?  I think it is because when we see the hunger of another human being and our ability to alleviate it, even for one hour, we might become more radically Christ-like.

The starved man, woman, and child live in SLO county. Some of them come to Prado for daily meals and other basic needs, including human contact and dignity.

Members of St. Benedict’s who serve lunch at People’s Kitchen may experience the kind of encounter Berrigan described, as eyes meet across a piece of bread or serving of shepherd’s pie. Jesus the Christ is both the
Starved One we feed when we bring our donations of instant oatmeal and peanut butter and place them in the Prado boxes and the One Who Feeds the starved woman, man and child. Namely, all of us.

The need for food, especially breakfast items such as dry cereal, instant oatmeal, peanut butter, jam, juice, protein bars, bagels, coffee, creamer, sugar, paper bowls plates, plastic cutlery — is ongoing. Donations during the summer months, when many people travel, have been a down a bit. When we bring these offerings to church we don’t actually see the people they benefit, but
we are still connected to them. As we push our shopping carts through the supermarket, we could imagine a particular hungry person–an elderly
woman, a child –and the look on her face when the bread finally arrives.