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Great Neck Notebook: June 6, 2012

Good Story, New Ending

Everybody loves a good story. And the reason we love them is that we see ourselves in them. Sometimes we hear someone else’s story and say, “Boy, is he lucky—I wish that was me.” And sometimes we hear someone’s story and we say, “I’m glad that’s not me.”

Sometimes we feel envy, sometimes pride, sometimes we feel happy.  “It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.” Sometimes we feel sad. “What a shame.  Did you hear what happened to …?” Sometimes we feel relief. “I don’t know if I could cope with that…”

All of us have heard and read a hundred stories or more about hunger, homelessness, and poverty in America. Stories about school children who don’t get enough to eat. Stories about mothers who skip meals so there will be more food for their kids. Stories about fathers working three jobs to try and put food on their table and keep a roof over their family’s head.

We read stories in Newsday and watch them on the evening news about families reduced to sleeping in a car. We see pictures of long lines outside food pantries and soup kitchens. I’ve written stories about families who’ve lost their homes to foreclosure and had all their worldly possessions tossed to the curb. I’ve heard about the thousands of people who crowd into shelters and about homeless veterans who pitch tents in the woods of Long Island and call that home.

I often say to myself, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” And then I think, “We can do better than this.”

I take heart every time I hear about a coat drive, or a food drive or a toy drive around the holidays. I take heart every time I read about a family that has rallied from the depths and gotten back on their feet and is making a new life for themselves. I’ve seen the grateful faces of men, and women and children at one of the INN’s soup kitchens holding a tray full of hot, nutritious food and I’ve seen the faces of the INN volunteers who not only serve meals, but serve heaping portions of hope and love.

And I know if each of us gives a little, we can make a big difference in the lives of our neighbors in need. Please join me in supporting the work of the Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN), which has provided food, shelter, and support services for Long Islanders for more than 25 years.

Your contribution, in whatever amount you can afford, will help write a better ending to all of these stories. Please make your check payable to:  The Interfaith Nutrition Network.  Donations may be mailed to: Dave Golbert, 7 Lee Court West, Great Neck, NY 11024.

Yes, it’s true. Everybody loves a good story. And best of all, we all love a story with a happy ending—especially if we help write it.