Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody,
I think that is a much greater hunger,
a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.
- Mother Theresa
This week's theme for the P52 photo challenge is Hunger. In the photo below is Shadow, a male cat who showed up one day at the farm a few years ago. He would sit in a protected area of a fallen tree and roam the pasture.
He spent his days outside. This isn't too much of an issue during a Minnesota summer, but by the time fall came it started to get colder it becomes a bit more difficult for animals.
Sophia and Olivia wanted to put some food out for him. So, we put a bowl of food in the driveway by the car. Eventually that day, Shadow trusted us enough to come closer and eat food. He was clearly hungry.
Throughout the fall and winter, we continued to feed him. He seemed grateful for food, and purred loudly in return as we pet him.
That winter, the temperatures were extraordinarily cold (-25 to -20 degree temperatures for one continuous week). Although Shadow was spending a lot of time in an unheated shed, we felt it was inhumane to have him outside in those kind of temperatures.
So, we brought out a kennel cab to the shed to see if he would go into it. He did so without any problems. We brought him inside and put him in the bathroom where could warm up, eat, and gain some strength. (He had to be kept separate from the other cats since he had been outside and had not yet been to a veterinarian.)
When the temperatures warmed up, he wanted to go back outside, so we let him. Throughout that summer, he spent his time at the farm as an outdoor cat. Each day the girls made sure he had a bowl of food.
Although he enjoyed being outside, by fall - as it became colder - he would show up at the back door and want to come in with the dogs.
So, we decided to bring Shadow indoors and make him an indoors cat. This was a gradual process because we already had four cats that were adopted from a farmer who had an unwanted litter of kittens and was going to "get rid of" them or that had shown up at the farm.
(Often times in the country, people drop off domestic pets hoping that they will eventually find a way to a farm. Sometimes the animals are successful in finding a home, other times the animals are so frightened and don't know how to fend for themselves that they die or are picked up by animal control.)
About a year or so ago, he needed to go eat a medicated cat food. Throughout the day, we put a little food in his bowl so the other cats won't eat it.
When Shadow is hungry, he waits patiently by his food bowl until someone gives him food. He will not eat the other cats' food, despite the fact that it is on the other side of the cats' water bowl.
Shadow waiting for his food.
The container to his right has his bag of medicated food
as well as the other cats' food.
Shadow has assimilated quite well and is one of the most easy-going, playful, and loving cats we've had.
P52's theme of Hunger also is a very timely one. Each March, Minnesota FoodShare directs the March Campaign, the largest food drive in the state and restocks 300 food shelves across Minnesota. According to its website, Minnesota FoodShare "recruits thousands of congregations, companies, schools and community groups to run local fund and food drives to aid in the effort.
"Minnesota FoodShare organizes a statewide media campaign to promote food shelf donations. It produces and distributes free promotional and educational resources for food drive organizers. It acts as a clearinghouse for cash donations and distributes the funds to participating Minnesota food shelves. Throughout the year, Minnesota FoodShare advocates on behalf of hungry Minnesota families with both state and federal lawmakers and educates the public about hunger in Minnesota."
So, this past Monday the 4-H club that the girls belong to toured a local food shelf and brought in a bag of food.
The girls and 4-H club members learned about the important work that Family Pathways does to help those in our community who need help feeding themselves and/or their families. We also learned about some of the ungoing needs of the food shelf, items that are most needed, and how any produce we grow can be donated. They also welcome eggs from farmers who may have a surplus of them.
The 4-H club donated 46 pounds of food that night to the food shelf. We were happy to be a part of that donation and to help others in our community.
If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one.
- Mother Theresa