Saint Nicholas is known for his support of the poor. Stories about him leaving gifts in the shoes of poor children and tossing bags of money into gardens so that poor girls could have dowries both fed into the tradition of Christmas gift giving. But yesterday I heard a new-to-me legend that seemed to go so much deeper.
A blizzard struck the area where Saint Nicholas was bishop. Everyone was snowed into their homes. With food preservation at that time being quite limited, this was a serious issue especially for the poor. The people simply didn’t have large stores of food. These poor families were becoming very desperate when a beam of sun light cut through the snow. Soon the snow was melting enough for the people to go outside. Each of the families found a basket of wheat food and vegetables. Even when they were snowed in, the bishop had managed to get out to care for his flock.
Today, we continue this tradition by giving food baskets to the poor.
Even if you don’t know of a local food basket program, you can still give food and life. Check out the (MFK). The organization’s goal is to save Haiti’s malnourished children, and it was founded by Dr. Wolff, a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. When she saw the poverty in Haiti, she thought of the wonders she had seen worked in Malawi with the distribution of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF). She immediately set up a similar program in Haiti.
MFK doesn’t just bring in this supplement to feed Haiti’s children. It goes deeper than this, using local agricultural products and local labor thus supporting the Haitian economy and helping Haitian adults to help Haitian children. In Haiti, the supplement is called Medika Mamba, Creole for peanut butter medicine. The program buys locally grown peanuts and other necessary ingredients and then the supplement is made in a home-turned factory. The organization is working toward a larger facility but until then they will continue to use the resources at hand to feed the poorest of the poor, malnourished Haitian children who are at serious risk of starvation.
Still don’t see how what sounds like peanut butter can be a life saver? Check out .
Why not join your resources with other concerned individuals and shine a light into the blizzard of poverty that blankets Haiti? Play Saint Nicholas and bring life to a child this Advent season.
Special thanks to Andrew Courtney who shared the legend and many other St. Nicholas facts in Sunday’s sermon, “The Jolly Old Saints.”
So many times I hear myself scoff.
“There’s no way that can be true.
Too easy. Too nice.
I’m no one’s mark.”
Help me see
that when I harden my heart,
I close myself off
to those around me,
to the possibilities of tomorrow,
and to You.
Give me the strength
to open myself
to the heart ache
that accompanies compassion,
to the tired-to-the-bone feeling
that comes from hard work.
Give me the vision required
to look out and to look up,
to see You pointing out the path
You want me to follow
in this life.