Mary Bilyeu: Time to serve up some compassion

·3 min read

Aug. 29—The Greater Toledo and Northwest Ohio Compassion Games are coming up soon: Sept. 11 to 22.

Stemming from an idea put forth by Karen Armstrong, who was awarded the 2008 TED Prize, a Charter for Compassion was developed in 2009 to foster a living embodiment of the Golden Rule.

Then a competition began when Louisville declared itself the most compassionate city and others vied for the title. Toledo joined the friendly rivalry in 2014 upon being designated an official Compassionate Community.

And we regularly win the annual games — we placed in the top position in last year's event, too, after reports of completed projects were evaluated. Yes, even in the midst of the pandemic.

I reached out to my friend Judy Trautman, chair of the MultiFaith Council of Northwest Ohio and the Greater Toledo Compassionate Community. She is truly one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I know, so I asked her for some food-related ideas of how we can all join in the games.

"Unfortunately food insecurity is a huge issue in these continuing pandemic times," Mrs. Trautman said. "It breaks my heart that we have hungry neighbors."

We brainstormed some suggestions of ways to address and combat the issue.

As you harvest the last vegetables and fruits from your gardens, arrange to donate them to the SeaGate Food Bank of Northwest Ohio, the Martin Luther King Kitchen for the Poor, or Toledo Food Not Bombs, which serves community dinners at the Collingwood Garden on Thursday nights.

Mobile Meals of Toledo welcomes drivers who not only bring nutritious food to people who are homebound, but also serve as a check-in to make sure those clients are doing alright.

Volunteer to work a shift at a local food bank: the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo's Mobile Food Bank, where 200 hot meals are prepared on the second Saturday of each month and are then distributed there and at the Helping Hands of St. Louis and Masjid Al-Islam; the Jewish Family and Social Services Family Pantry, or the Equality Toledo Community Pantry.

Backpacks for Humans, which provides bags filled with some of life's necessities to those who are unhoused, has a very specific wish list of food items that are nutritious, portable, and non-perishable.

Offer some time to help with the good works of Mosaic Ministries, whether preparing a meal to serve or teaching nutrition classes at Baby University, which offers support to expectant mothers and young parents.

Have your kids host a neighborhood lemonade stand or a bake sale, and donate the proceeds to a food charity. Take your elderly neighbors shopping, or offer to help them order groceries online that you could pick up and drop off.

This is just a small sampling of the potential opportunities to serve.

So please sign up to join Team Compassionate Toledo by going to bit.ly/3gf1W5M. Fill in your name (or that of your group or organization) and a description of your plan.

That's it, until you complete your mission and report on the results: the number of people helped and/or hours worked, the amount of money raised, etc.

The Compassion Games are a feel good, do good endeavor to benefit our caring community.

Please join in.

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