Taking a Second Look

On Shrove Tuesday morning, admiring the beautiful spring sunshine, I left my home to walk to work, pondering some more on what I should give up for Lent this year.

As thoughts of Diet Coke and chocolate switched over in my mind, I was drawn to a young man walking along my street, pushing an old, tartan shopping trolley. He was maybe 15, 16 at most. I crossed the road in the other direction, but something made me turn back not 30 seconds later. What I then saw filled me with sadness; he was crouched down and feeling with his bare hands the refuse sacks my neighbours had left out the night before. I realised then that he was looking for food. I was too far away to go back and chat to him at this point and how awful I felt about that. Where had he come from? Had his mother sent him out to do this? Why wasn’t he at school?

I promised myself I’d look out for him this week, but I didn’t see him.

What I witnessed that morning served as a stark reminder to me the wonderful work that the Food Bank is doing, right here in our community in Hounslow. During this period of Lent, giving up something for 40 days is something most Christians give thought to. But we must especially think about what we can give as well.

I for one will be making every effort to give more to the Food Bank over the coming weeks – as well as reflecting daily how fortunate I am to be able to put food on my family’s table – and I thank God for that.

Zoë Thomas