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Tamam Tracy Moncur - Sun Oct 15, 2017 @ 09:06AM
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The holidays are drawing near and so many of us are in anticipation of the wonderful time we will have with family and friends. Yet so many others will be entering the season with hunger as their companion; fear hovering in the atmosphere in search of shelter from the winter winds; peace of mind eludes many a stressed-out soul. Where is that turkey with all the trimmings? Where are the candied yams hot from the oven  steaming? Where are the pies cooling in the window with the continual flow of family and friends in and out of the kitchen?

Demons flying in on the wings of Halloween circulate in the sky plotting and planning the death of empathy. Evil spirits slash away at the budget sending citizens reeling into the depths of despair; Fiends cutting SNAP (Food stamps) gleefully derive a sinister pleasure from this ignorant act that will result in many women, children, the disabled, and seniors who will suffer; villains initiating massive tax cuts loom on the horizon of doom, fingers of greed ready to snatch money away from those in need, and then add to their already colossal riches

In the United States 48.8 million Americans are food insecure which means in trying to make ends meet they often do not have enough money left over for good wholesome food. Thirteen million children are hungry. One out of thirty children are homeless which translates into there being about 2.2 million children homeless in America. Thanksgiving and Christmas are special days out of the year where the spirit of giving is stirred up in the heart of the community yet unfortunately hunger, homelessness, and hardship are constants in the lives of those millions of Americans living at or below the poverty line. 

Halloween decorations…pumpkins displaying snaggle-tooth smiles sit between friendly scarecrows watching spiderweb formations trick-or-treating in and out of hunger pangs. Devastation sinks deep into despair stimulating waves of sorrow…no food tomorrow. Baby crying…children whining, “Mommy we hungry!” Multiple trips to the refrigerator divulge the same empty shelves. Lord help me…what can I do? My children need food!

Halloween slides into November…the month of feasting. Turkey talk gobbles up the airways squawking about the sales of the season while a mother’s grief goes unanswered. One callous swipe of the executive pen and the affordable part of health care has been snatched from millions of Americans. There is a direct correlation between eating well, health, and education.  Hungry children are at high risk for health issues and poor academic achievement as well as behavioral problems.

The twins Empathy and Sympathy feed the hungry making scrumptious dinners for those in the community during the months of November and December.Their cousins, Peace and Joy, sing of an everlasting love while distributing toys to little girls and little boys; Kindness passes out coats, hats, scarves, and gloves to ward off the cold. Compassion feels good about giving back to those in need.

The New Year then tolls the bell of fate and rings in hunger, homelessness, and poverty ever ready to continue their reign of terror.

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Tamam Tracy Moncur - Fri Jan 27, 2017 @ 03:11AM
Comments: 12


Pantry insanity once again...the 4th Tuesday has arrived.  Early morning hustle and bustle at the food bank... gathering produce, milk products, canned goods, meat, bread, and so much more depending on the need... all this is free...free for the food bank partners helping to feed America's hungry. Lifting heavy boxes...stacking products on boats...long lines at the checkout...goods wrapped on pallets to be taken to the docks. Loading the truck...next stop House of Love Soup Kitchen. It's a cold, rainy day yet people are lined up already waiting  to take food home to offset their food scarcity.

The food comes from several different sources.  Some from large chain supermarkets, some from smaller markets, and then there are large donations from both the federal government and the state government. I recently participated in the Women's March and I know there were many concerns that were part of the platform; one of them being how nonprofit organizations and the people they serve were going to fare under the Trump administration. A few days into his administration and the decimation has begun...repeal the affordable care act...slash medicare and medicaid budgets...cut back funding to sanctuary cities...executive order to halt immigration from Muslim countries except the one's he does business with...revise the food stamp program...in other words a massive dismantling of projects that service the disadvantaged. Whose neighborhoods will this directly affect?

One out of seven Americans face hunger and 17% of households with children are food insecure...30% of households headed by single women...22% of black households...19% Hispanic households...9% of seniors all of whom face hunger on a daily basis. The people who go to food pantries are suppose to show ID that indicates that they are first of all residents of the state in order to receive state donations;  then for the  federal food donations they have to be on various assistant programs like medicaid or the food stamp program. How will our clients be affected with all the tearing down of assistance programs? Large numbers of people are not only  subjected to food scarcity but now have a large dark cloud of helplessness and hopelessness shrouding their futures?

The House of Love soup Kitchen is a faith based organization. The Bible instructs us to take care of the needy...feed the hungry...clothe the naked, visit the sick, see about those who are in prison...set the oppressed free. Who are the oppressed? Those weighed down by desperate financial conditions, the hungry, the homeless, the mentally ill, the sick...all those shackled and burdened by adverse conditions and circumstances. God has given us direct instructions to help people; to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Does the Trump administration hear GOD's voice?  Are they in tune to serving the needs of all Americans regardless of ethnicity and economic status? Or will the seed of greed and power devour them and us? It's prayer time...praying that America will one day truly become "One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all."

Comments: 12
Tamam Tracy Moncur - Sun Nov 27, 2016 @ 06:21PM
Comments: 4


11/22/2016

Pantry insanity…early morning hours filled with hustling and bustling…moving fast going to the food bank...Lord give us the strength we need to succeed… Choices of dairy, produce, bread, canned goods all overflowing from boxes of donations given to feed the hungry of America. Food bank under staffed…funds cut back…moving slow…weighing in…wrapping up goods on pallets…ordering snacks…checking out…almost two hours behind…finally filling the truck with goods to deliver to people waiting patiently in the cold for food to ward off hunger. The crew traveling into a day to be filled with a combination of highs and lows.

Lord give us the strength we need to succeed…People are standing patiently waiting on a cold windy fall day on a promise of turkeys which certainly defines the difference between a want and a need. A need indeed will make a person wait 4 and ½ hours in the cold for a turkey and and other food items…a need indeed will motivate a person to put their families well being above their own creature comforts…a need indeed will compel a person to get on their knees and pray their way through negative circumstances believing that God will make a way…

Lord give us the strength we need to succeed …Organizing the line…unloading the truck…intake table to set up…paperwork to arrange…goods to be bagged up for allocation…volunteers work quickly…arguments quelled…disgruntled feelings appeased…a pallet with eggs and produce left at the food bank…truck goes back to retrieve…pallet given to another organization...keen disappointment…pantry insanity…clients still grateful though in spite of mishap…60 turkeys given out…enough food items all together to service 85 people from the community…day comes to an end even though people are still coming seeking relief from hunger…hoping for something but all is gone...food scarcity is an overwhelming reality in America..

http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/african-american-hunger/

“While hunger has no boundaries, it does impact some communities more than others. African Americans are more likely to suffer from food insecurity as their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. They are disproportionately affected by unemployment and poverty as well.”

Join in the fight against hunger in America!

Comments: 4
Tamam Tracy Moncur - Thu Nov 17, 2016 @ 06:24PM
Comments: 5

11/15/2016

Hunger…holiday season on the horizon touching hearts to reach out and embrace love…turkey love…cranberry craziness…sweets insanity...empty stomachs teased…cupboards bare...hearts ache. Hungry people everywhere…poverty across America…no money for the basics…soup kitchens and pantries addressing the need to a degree. That time of year once again has descended upon the economically challenged to emphasize and make them even more aware of this acute condition.

Soup kitchen aromas tantalize famished palates waiting to be pleased on this day out of the year set aside to give thanks for thoughtful souls. Hunger a year around concern yearns for means to keep refrigerators full, and cupboards complete with the ABC’s of nutrition. Hungry children, hungry adults, hungry seniors plead for relief from this chronic condition.

The House of Love Soup Kitchen, a faith based organization, located in Newark, NJ served a pre-Thanksgiving meal to over 80 people on the 15th of November. What a meal! What a meal! Praises floated up to the heavens as blessings of turkey with all the trimmings came down and filled plate after plate…God bless the hands that prepared the meal...fried chicken, mac ‘n cheese, stuffing, baked beans…it seemed as if the choices of food would never end...God bless all those who were able to partake of this scrumptious meal…candied yams, tuna noodle salad, pasta salad, green salad and mixed vegetables for the healthy minded... God bless all those trying to make a difference in their communities... ice tea to wash the feast down and yes, pies and cakes galore. Lord we thank you for this day to ward off hunger…this day for the community to engage in an all you can eat treat with camaraderie and the love of God filling the air.

Where do we go from here? What does the future hold in store for feeding hungry Americans? Should there even be a scarcity of food in America?

  • Feeding America Statistics: 42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children.
  • Households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (17%), especially households with children headed by single women (30%) or single men (22%), Black non-Hispanic households (22%) and Hispanic households (19%).
  • In 2014, 5.4 million seniors (over age 60), or 9 percent of all seniors were food insecure.
  • http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/im...

Praying and asking God to guide, to protect, and to direct those involved in battling hunger…please God fill the stomachs everyday of those suffering from the great American food challenge and please God strengthen all involved in the fight against hunger not allowing us to “grow weary in well doing”.

Comments: 5
Tamam Tracy Moncur - Mon Nov 14, 2016 @ 04:13AM
Comments: 6

Emotions all amuck swirling in a giant vortex as we approach the dawn of the rest of our existence…rage…hate…anger…fear…sorrow…sadness… disgust…no trust. A myriad of feelings followed the most bizarre election in the history of the United States of America. Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of our country based on a platform of rhetoric, persuasively appealing to fear and hate, and effectively dividing the country into an enclave of compassion surrounded by callousness and confusion. This man who said he would build a wall to keep Mexicans out and stop Muslims from coming into this country. This man did not denounce the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan, and was also known to physically grope women viewing them as sexual objects. This man is a person many of us thought was one big dangerous joke but in the end he got the last laugh.

I ran across a quote of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which I feel appropriately describes what just happened in our country. “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” A year or so ago when I first read this quote I didn’t quite understand it and glossed over it, but after this election and upon re-reading and reflecting on it I had an “a ha” moment, a light bulb experience and with much thought am applying his words to this new reality:

Sincere ignorance stayed home the day of the election because of the thought that their vote didn’t matter, and were comfortably clothed in the notion when in doubt don’t vote. Sincere ignorance blinded many blue collar workers to the fact that the 5% unemployment rate is about as low as you can go in a capitalist system and was achieved by our current president Barack

Obama. Many laborers were hoodwinked by empty promises and don’t understand that technology is rapidly replacing workers. Sincere ignorance pierced the fear of coal miners into the belief that “go green” is a fad and the mining industry will be revitalized. Sincere ignorance fed on the uneducated who don’t have a clue as to the economics of this country, who idolize wealth, and who think that the 3% of this nation that controls the money has compassion for the shrinking middle class and the less fortunate.

Conscientious stupidity stymied the hands of many right winged .Christians who in spite of the Devine Doctrine of Love voted for hatred and intolerance…paralyzing their hands keeping them from opening the bible and doing a fact check: St. Matthew 25: 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” The rallying cry of “let the oppressed go free” rings throughout the Bible from the Old Testament to the New.

Conscientious stupidity is black people voting for the same man that the Ku Klux Klan endorsed. Even sincere ignorance does not justify a black person casting a vote for the KKK, an organization that has tortured, hung, murdered, and burned their way into the psyche of the African American collective conscious and is forever embedded in the historical tapestry of the United States of America.

Conscientious stupidity voted for a man who wants to violate the first amendment by curtailing the migration of Muslims to this country. This amendment states:“Congress shall make no law prohibiting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the exercise there of; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.”

Conscientious stupidity ranted and raved about building a wall to keep our southern neighbors out, and about deporting large numbers of people who came to this country seeking a better life. Nevertheless the Statue of Liberty stands in the New York harbor singing out: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses to breathe free…send these homeless, tempest tossed, to me. I will lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

This is a country of immigrants no matter how many generations removed, and of course counting the many African Americans whose ancestors were brought to this country by force. The only indigenous people are the Native Americans and yet in the year 2016 the multi-cultural nature of this country is one of its greatest strengths.

What do we do? Do we wait and see what’s going to happen over the next four years? Do we simply become complacently compliant only grumbling every now and then? Or do we continue to work at making a difference in our communities, keeping our commitment and compassion alive, and continuing to embrace humanity with empathy and dignity? Do we stand up for something or do we fall for anything?InconclusionHere are more wise words from Dr. King, Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Comments: 6
Tamam Tracy Moncur - Fri Oct 07, 2016 @ 08:56PM
Comments: 3

October 4th 

Regular soup kitchen day… Pastor cooking away… a little bit of this and a little bit of that thrown together equals tantalizing odors... and a house filled with love.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. The sun is shining…not a cloud in the sky. The temperature is in the 70’s somewhat on the warmish side for a fall day. Traffic is getting heavy on Central Ave. People are moving about with purpose. Kindness comes into the House of Love Soup Kitchen with study bibles followed by Consistency. Hunger and anger cross the threshold as well and take a seat. Friendly pleasantries are exchanged. God has been good to me…celebrated my 83rd birthday. We got a new counselor in group and she told us not to let the world judge us because of our mental disabilities but to know that we are somebody in spite of labels. Trying to find a job ain’t no joke. Just thankful for life health and strength.

Consistency reads the bible. Words of scripture resonate around the table…anger digests the concept of forgiveness. How many times must I forgive? “Not seven but seventy times seven”. Forgiveness lightens the load...my X left me with three kids and no way to support myself…forgiveness keeps the heart from exploding into fragments of depression…family kicked me out…got no job…got no money...got nowhere to stay…forgiveness does not allow for stagnation…just got out of prison…no one want to rent to me… struggling…got to get moving…forgiveness releases the spirit from the muck and mire of a warped existence…hope does not translate into inactivity but soars on the wings of doves.

Homeless…begging on street corners…families evicted. 13.5% of the people in this country live in poverty. Got to go to the pantry…stop by the soup kitchen…sorry…there’s scarcity of food in the house. 17% of impoverished households have children. Refrigerators empty…cupboards bare. 30%of children in a household headed by a woman go hungry. Stomachs growling feed me... feed me. In black households 22% of the children are starving. Mommy when are we going to eat?

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Tamam Tracy Moncur - Sat Aug 13, 2016 @ 08:44PM
Comments: 5

August 9, 2016

It was a peaceful summer afternoon when in walked hunger-hungry for food and hungry for a dose of self-worth. God is no respecter of persons resonates through the quiet bible study. The spirit embraces all… you use drugs come… you drink alcohol come…you homeless come…you a single parent come…you a transsexual come…you depressed come…you a senior come…neighborhood children come…trying to make ends meet come…you angry come…you stressed come…you hopeless come. Self worth and love are dished up by the spoonfuls. Peace is given out in abundance along with a cool cup of ice tea. Chicken, rice, and salad are on tonight's menu.

1in 5 children in America face hunger…stomachs growling…nothing to eat. Some may be eligible for breakfast programs at school and some may not be. Lack of nutrition depletes the brain…hard to remain sane…hard to retain knowledge…hard to learn.

Work hard all your life,,, retire then can’t afford to make ends meet. Cost of medicine super high. It’s a battle to buy healthy food…can’t afford much fruit and vegetables…dairy is a problem too…don’t know what to do…diabetes running rampant...blood pressure off the chart…need heart healthy food as well. Five million seniors struggle with food insecurity in this extremely wealthy nation. Where does all the money go?

1 in 7 Americans rely on food pantries or feeding programs

1 in four people in NJ struggle to meet basic needs (rent, medicine, lights and gas, transportation, etc.)

One of the clients, face aglow, lets the others know that many are called but few are chosen…the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.

Comments: 5
Tamam Tracy Moncur - Sun Jul 31, 2016 @ 11:49AM
Comments: 4

It’s the 4th Tuesday… pantry day. Hot sun shining on empty shopping carts lined up waiting to be filled…people socializing across the street in the shade sharing the news of the day. Lady fighting back tears…anger gripping her…manager of her building harassing her. It’s going to be another scorcher….suppose to get up to 96 degrees. We are in the throes of a heat wave. One out of seven families suffer from food insecurity…the politically correct words to use instead of just plain old hungry…stomach growling…hunger pangs protesting emptiness. Children, adults missing meals because the rent had to be paid…other pressing matters had to be taken care of. Doors open at 1pm …folks start lining up by 10am. We usually service around 100 people from the community. In America, land of the free, there are so many people hungry. How can that be? Babies’ crying…children whimpering…parents in distress…hunger has invaded the family nest creeping into empty cupboards in search of sustenance.

Helping hands unload the truck…willing workers hustle and bustle about unpacking boxes then repacking them with an assortment of items from today’s gift of nourishment. The goal…90 boxes. Numbers passed out…paperwork filled out…an angry voice blurts out, “Why I got to fill out these (expletive) blankety…blank papers? I fought in Iraq for this country for what to die in poverty.”

Listening to conversations sharing time gives me an interesting insight into the philosophy of the streets. Superficially it’s dog eat dog, tit for tat, disrespect me I’ll disrespect you right back. No space or place for politeness…kindness portrays weakness… that’s just the way it is. What’s there to do but live hard in the face of endless denial, laugh hard during the constant struggle to make ends meet, and party hard to make tired bones come back to life.

The day went quickly in spite of the heat. The majority of people are very appreciative. Everything is gone by 4pm and we are exhausted. We were able to give out boxes of food to over 100 clients from the community. Serving the community leaves us with a good feeling...a job well done!


Comments: 4
Tamam Tracy Moncur - Mon Feb 02, 2015 @ 11:41AM
Comments: 4

Newark, NJ on the rise

A silent silhouette against the sky

Daring to ascend from the depths of

Racism

Political cynicism

Violence

And economic uncertainty

Now soars in a paradoxical reality

Coupled with a dubious prosperity


Newark, NJ on the rise

A silent silhouette against the sky

Whitney Houston

Sarah Vaughn

The voices of these angels

Sing on filling the hearts of the people

Bebop-ing through despair

Bending the flat five into thoughts that care

Scatting hope into the air


Newark, NJ on the rise

A silent silhouette against the sky

Amiri Baraka writer extraordinaire

Dared to defy the establishment

Poet Laureate…Novelist

Essayist…Community activist

Playwright

Dedicated his life in the fight against oppression

His words live on in the hearts of the people


Newark, NJ on the rise

A silent silhouette against the sky

Urban hot spot

Will not allow for the decimation

Of public education

Youthful voices

Heads held high...shout to the sky

That justice will prevail

The people will not fail


Newark, NJ on the rise

A silent silhouette against the sky

Community activism fires up complacency

Supplanted by souls seeking liberty

Calling for all to take a stand

To confront social issues to push for that breakthrough

Freedom in the New Millennium

Freedom from bullets of racism

Freedom from mass incarceration…


Newark, NJ on the rise

The music and poetic words live on

Igniting the spirits of the brave ones

Challenging and confronting the hardships of adversity

Unemployment…Hunger

Gangs…Drugs

Homelessness…Poverty

Calling for action…calling for liberation

The liberation of the beautiful minds lost in time…



Comments: 4
Tamam Tracy Moncur - Sun Jan 27, 2013 @ 05:19AM
Comments: 5

 

The golden rule: St. Luke 6:31 “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise”.

Respect is love unfettered… respect is joy untethered …respect is contagious peace…respect is a listening patience…respect is a settling gentleness…respect is unmitigated goodness…respect is trusting confidence …respect is a still quietness…respect is emotion control.

All human beings want love and respect. Respect is simply treating people the way you want to be treated.  We live in a world where disrespect spits out its venom on a daily basis.  For instance how do we respond to people when their clothes are ragged, wrinkled, or even dirty…their speech is not clear and their demeanor sings of failure?  In other words they look like a bum, and in our minds their life becomes the sum total of nothingness equated to not worthy of our compassion, empathy, or sympathy.  There will be no regard for the pauper, the indigent; the 47 million living in poverty for that is the circumstance dealt to them and it’s theirs, and theirs alone to live out in the social standings of society.  The “poor” are not our responsibility… not even worthy of mention in all the present and future hoopla of campaigns and promises.   The brain of the masses sizzles as rejection pops in and out between synapses of structure.  Seven hundred thousand souls go in search of beds to lay their heads on a given night in a given place with solitude as their companion. 

The United States Census Bureau in 2010 showed that 46.9 million people live in poverty and that 20.5 million of these Americans live in extreme poverty meaning that their income for a family of 4 is about $10,000 per year. Feeding Across America states that1 out of 6 families are food insecure, a politically correct way of saying that these families go hungry many times in order to pay rent or mortgage, and other bills of necessity. Many of these families have at least one person working. The world Hunger Organization states that the world produces enough food for everybody on earth to eat. 

According to the National Center on Family Homelessness on any given night in the United States there are about 650,000 homeless individuals seeking shelter. Four out of ten of these individuals live in the streets, cars, abandoned buildings, or other places not fit for habitation. What’s startling is that 34% of this population is made up of families and that 40% are under 18; 42% of those under 18 are children under 6 years of age. The United States has the largest number of homeless women and children in the industrialized world.

Game pieces crash and bang against the perimeter of private thought, ducking and dodging bullets of gray matter that splatter blood bubbles in patterns of precision.   Needy hands are raised screaming in a vacuum of insensitivity to be called on…to be recognized…to be gratified with a nod of approval and a morsel of respect.  Fruits of kindness grow on a spiritual tree locked far away in the recesses of the human psyche waiting to be plucked for consumption by hungry spirits.

Comments: 5