Well, Lent is flying on by. Next week is already Passion (Palm) Sunday, and the following week is Easter! It will be here before you know it. When I was young, many, many years ago back in the dark ages, I used to look forward to Easter because every Easter I got an Easter basket. Perhaps you got one as a child as well, and maybe your children still do. The Easter basket was brightly colored, filled with crinkly artificial grass, jelly beans, malted milk ball eggs, cream-filled chocolate eggs, even some brightly dyed hard-boiled real eggs, and of course the Pièce de résistance, a chocolate Easter bunny. Yum! Easter baskets are a lovely, as well as tasty, tradition.
Following up on this Easter tradition, I propose that we here at St. Austin make up an Easter basket for the Micah 6 Food Bank, of which we are a member. Twice a week the Food Bank, which operates out of the basement of University Presbyterian Church, provides food to hundreds of “shoppers,” people who represent families who do not have enough food. It is surprising how much food insecurity there is here in our community.
Each week Micah 6 distributes more than 10,000 pounds of food. Much of the food comes from the Capital Area Food Bank, but recently, due to politics with the Farm Bill in Congress, the Capital Area Food Bank has not been able to meet the demand. Local Micah 6 congregations, like St. Austin, help make up the difference to keep our food bank going.
So let us make an Easter basket for Micah 6, not of jelly beans and chocolate and hard-boiled eggs, but of nutritious foods for hungry families to share. Between now and Easter please bring with you to church some non-perishable food items for our basket: canned meats like tuna or stew or chili, pasta and pasta sauce, canned vegetables, beans, peanut butter, healthy cereals, and items like that. Please place them in the bin at the St. Joseph altar. You can bring food any time up to and including Easter Sunday, April 20. By Easter we will have an Easter basket of nutritious food to assist those in our community who are hungry. That will be an Easter basket much better than any amount of jelly beans and chocolate rabbits! It will be a great way for us as a parish to wish “Happy Easter” to our neighbors in need.