We are approaching the Thanksgiving Holiday, the time when Americans of all Faiths and backgrounds take time off and spend it with family and friends and give Thanks for our many blessings. At this time of year many of us are inspired to help the less fortunate. Hibernians across the Country as part of their charitable works continue to raise money, donate food, and volunteer their time, to feed the Hungry; and they are to be commended for their efforts. It is amazing that in a country such as ours that people still go hungry every day. I am aware that Many Hibernian Divisions, Counties, and States are supporting food banks, volunteering at soup kitchens or homeless shelters, organizing food drives, collecting and distributing food to needy families.
Our Catholic Faith and Christ’s teachings encourage us to feed the hungry. From Mathew Chapter 25:
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’.. And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
And as Irish people, we are aware of our history and the cruelty inflicted on our Ancestors during “An Gorta Mor”, The Great Hunger; a deliberate genocide, period of mass evictions, and a planned effort to depopulate Ireland. Ireland at the time was producing enough food to feed at least double the entire population of the island. The food produced was being exported to England for profit by greedy landlords and the British as millions of Irish starved to death. An Gorta Mor resulted in over 3 million deaths or people forced to emigrate. Many more died on the journey on the horrible overcrowded unsanitary coffin ships.
So as Hibernians, we should focus to expand our efforts at all Jurisdictions of our order in helping the less fortunate and hungry in our society. We can encourage our members to bring food donations to meetings, events, or drop them off at our AOH Halls. If your AOH Division, County or State currently has a program to help the Hungry, please let me know about it so I can publicize it and pass it on to inspire other jurisdictions. I would like to hear about events that you have coming up to feed the hungry. If you have any questions, or if I can assist you in any way in fighting hunger or publicizing An Gorta Mor, please contact me.
Have an enjoyable Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Holidays celebrated with Family and Friends.
“May Saint Patrick Bless and Protect You!”
National AOH, Hunger Chairman
(646) 584-1918 cell phone