My name is Doug Heacock, and I’m a retired pastor and a member of the LINK board of directors. I’ll be sharing in this space from time to time, mostly about issues and topics related to the work that we do at LINK.
As odd as it may seem, I didn’t really become truly sensitized to the issue of food insecurity in my own country until I had traveled to an impoverished, third-world country where daily meals were a luxury for most. Some years ago, I traveled with short-term construction mission teams sent by our church to Haiti, where I met the poorest people I had ever known—people who, in many cases, could not survive without assistance, not because food was in short supply, but rather because they didn’t have the resources to obtain it. (Unemployment in Haiti sometimes reaches 80%.)
Eyes open at home
Those experiences changed me, to be sure, and though conditions in the U.S. can scarcely be compared to those in Haiti, for whatever reason, my eyes were opened to many of the very real problems surrounding poverty right here in Douglas County, Kansas—homelessness, the lack of affordable housing, inadequate health care, and food insecurity. So I began serving with others from my church at LINK, and came to love it (my usual spot is on the dish-washing crew).
What we do is simple
At LINK, all are welcome. Volunteers do their best to provide healthy meals to all guests, no questions asked. Tasty, nutritious food and warm smiles abound. The LINK staff help volunteers figure out what to do. Ask any LINK volunteer and they’ll most likely tell you they had a great experience.
The human kindness feedback loop
There’s a vast difference between worrying (or complaining) about the problems that make life difficult for some in our community and actually doing something to help, and it really doesn’t take that much to make a difference. Serving meals at LINK, or purchasing and preparing food for others to serve, helps those in need of a meal in a very tangible way. More than mere food is exchanged at a LINK meal; simple acts of human kindness humble and bless both the server and the guest.
A call to action
There is plenty of food in our city. Most of those who read this can easily contribute food or finances (or both) to help make food obtainable for more people, and many can contribute a few hours every now and then to help out. Your church, your civic group, your business, your neighborhood—any group of people you associate with—can help LINK continue to provide meals for those who need them in our community. Would you be willing to take a few moments to learn how you can help? You truly won’t regret it.
–Rev. Doug Heacock