What Can You Do To Make A Difference by Craig Cottingim

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What Can You Do To Make A Difference by Craig Cottingim

The following article was written by Craig Cottongim, New Song Church Pastor of Kingsport, TN. It was published in the Kingsport Times News on January 5th, 2024.


When my wife and I started dating as teenagers, she found food stashed in my bedroom. Surprised, she was curious as to why I hoarded food. A season of scarcity carved its scar during my adolescence, when, without a scrap of food in the house, we were absolutely food-poor.

I’m forever familiar with the despair hunger brings. If it weren’t for the Hensley’s feeding us throughout that time, I don’t know what we would have done.

Having tasted hunger as a child, food has become my love language as an adult, and our dinner table is as sacred as an altar. Those who know me know I’m a total foodie. I love to grill (over charcoal), my wife and I love to cook together, and occasionally we enjoy hosting others.

Most people don’t know why I am this way, but now you do. The pangs of food insecurity shape you, you could say wound you, for life.

Solving any of the problems connected to poverty is challenging — for example, balancing how we avoid enabling laziness or irresponsibility without neglecting or overlooking anyone who is actually in need. Either way you slice it, it’s hard to sleep peacefully knowing innocent children will fall asleep, fitfully, to the sound of their tummy rumbling tonight.

Not everyone has a Hensley family in desperate times. What can we do to make a real difference? Serving with the Second Harvest Food Bank you won’t find much razzmatazz, but it’s rewarding. It’s hard work, but you won’t have to reinvent the wheel. Thankfully there are people who dedicate themselves to this labor of love full time, like Chuck for example.

Chuck, a Navy vet, is hardworking, gray-haired and full of wisdom. He wears shorts all year long, regardless what time of year it is. When you visit Second Harvest he’ll be out in the warehouse, and among other tasks, you’ll see him guiding the volunteer workforce — folks vital to their success.

Chuck is an inspiration, as is their entire staff. These unsung heroes serve our region, partnering with local organizations, making a difference in the lives of people who manage to just scrape by. People, real people by the way, who deserve dignity and a heaping serving of healthy self-esteem.

If you haven’t already participated in the work at Second Harvest, maybe God could use you to “do unto others” as you’d like done. Charitable contributions are important. Food banks can’t run on empty promises, but they also need some hands on deck too. It takes a combination of grant money, donations and people gracious with their time to keep the wheels turning.

The Lord’s Prayer includes a fascinating phrase, “give us this day our daily bread.” When you live hand-to-mouth, that resonates deeply.

This same prayer also indicates that we should ask God that, “His will be done” on earth as it is in heaven. Second Harvest Food Bank powerfully merges these principles from the Lord’s Prayer.

Please pray how you too could partner in this godly work.

Craig Cottongim is the minister at New Song Church in Kingsport. Email him at Craig cottongim@gmail.com.

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