Written by David Golbert Friday, 04 February 2011 00:00
Third-grader Christina Taylor Green was recently elected to the student council of Mesa Verde Elementary school in Tuscon, Arizona. She played second base on the local Little League team; she loved animals, dancing, and gymnastics. She told her parents that she wanted to go to Penn State University and have a career “that involved helping those less fortunate.”
We’ll never know how that career would have worked out. We’ll never know how many people’s lives might have been changed, might have been made better, because of a 9-year-old girl who cared about others. We’ll never know because Christina Taylor Green was among the six people murdered by a deranged gunman outside a supermarket in Tucson, while she waited to meet her Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords.
Her life was ended by a bullet. It happened in a matter of seconds. Her dreams, and her family’s dreams for her, died in that instant.
Christina was not the only 9-year-old who died that day. Most 9-year-olds don’t die from bullets. Most die much slower and over the course of many years. Those other children die a little each night when they go to bed hungry. Those children die a little each day when they go to school in a coat that doesn’t keep them warm from winter’s icy blasts. Those children die because when school ends they don’t have a safe, secure home to return to. Those children die because their parents can’t afford to buy the medicines they need when they get sick.
Those children die each time one of their classmates ridicules them for being homeless. Those children are twice as likely than other children to suffer from asthma and other serious childhood illnesses. Those children are twice as likely as other children to drop out of school. Those children are twice as likely to know more about life’s disappointments than about life’s special dreams.
At the INN’s 19 soup kitchens, we see children like Christina every day, and our mission is to help those children hold on to their dreams of a better life. At a soup kitchen, we know the importance of a good nutritious meal—one that starts with a cup of great soup and includes lots of vegetables, salad, fresh fruit, bread and butter, and a tasty dessert. It’s a meal that says “Dreams are possible.” It’s a meal that says, “Your life matters.”
If you’ve had some blessings in your life, please join me in supporting the life-affirming work of the INN, which serves thousands of meals each year to children just like Christina, so they can dream of a better tomorrow. Your contribution—in whatever amount is comfortable for you—keeps those dreams alive.
In a way, Christina Taylor Green’s dream of helping those less fortunate has already started to come true. But she needs our help to keep her dream alive.
Donations may be mailed to: Dave Golbert, 7 Lee Court West, Great Neck, NY 11024. Please make your check payable to: The Interfaith Nutrition Network.