Standing the Gap

I am constantly looking for the right combination of words to express an idea about the incredible work of Michigan’s food banks and the families we serve. I strive to use words that help others visualize the heroic efforts of our FBCM network.

For example, I often talk about “taking hunger off the table” … quite the visual if you think through it for a moment. A table often reminds many of a place of abundance with food present at every important occasion throughout our lives.

Another phrase I use to describe the harshness of food insecurity is “the toxic stress of food insecurity.” We all know about stress, but toxic stress offers a visual of someone desperately sick from a poison or radiation. That’s what we want people to grasp about the people we serve; they are living in toxic circumstances.

One of my favorite phrases to describe those who come alongside of us in this work of creating food security is “standing in the gap.” This one is a bit harder for those of us in North America to grasp. The phrase originates from the old world and is biblical for sure. Probably, if you lived anywhere but in the United States and heard the phrase, it would click.

Imagine you live in a city that has a wall around it. The wall is designed to protect those living within the walls. Cities with walls were once common. You will need to travel abroad to see them. One of my favorites is in York, England, and certainly, the ancient city of Jerusalem is a walled city.

The “gap” is a literally a hole in the wall. If the gap were to go unattended, enemies would pour into the city and wreak havoc. Our U.S. Capitol is now surrounded with walls designed to keep people out after the day of insurrection occurred January 6, 2021. So, when a breach occurs, a gap is created and must be filled with something. Similar to the U.S. Capitol, the gap is filled with brave men and women who choose to “stand in the gap.”

The radio show/podcast I host, Food First MI doesn’t have a physical wall with a hole in it nor are our food banks encased inside a fortress. Figuratively, and with actions that include time, talent and treasure, we need people to come alongside of us and the people we serve and stand in the gap with us.

Food security is a solvable problem, and we can do it here in Michigan. It will take both personal and political will. It will take adjusting current policy, so they are more effective and fulfill their intent. People who struggle with food insecurity are worthy of investment by our nation, our government and by those of us who are blessed enough to help.

Stand in the gap with me and our team of Feeding America food banks who serve food insecure children and seniors in all 83 Michigan counties.


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