Many Hands Make Light Work: On the Value of Juvenile Humor
What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear! While exchanging juvenile riddles, we packed lunches today for kids who don’t have enough to eat. Through charitable giving and a cadre of volunteers, Kids Food Basket serves sack suppers to nearly 500 kids in our area so the kids can avoid going hungry. The organization exists to alleviate childhood hunger so that young people can learn and live well.
It’s good work.
As we made peanut butter sandwiches (tip: put the heel-side in on the sandwich in order to fool pickier eaters!), filled baggies with trail mix, and packed applesauce into sacks, I was struck by how many hands were part of the process. From the crew of volunteers – the retirees, the college girls who showed up, and the woman skipping her lunch hour at her corporate job in order to pack lunches for others – to the companies like Boars Head that donate lunch meat, there are so many people who touch the process of giving.
15,817 children in Ottawa County are receiving free or reduced–priced school lunches. 65% of teachers regularly see kids coming to school hungry because they don’t get enough to eat at home. Kids Food Basket helps fill the gap by providing sack suppers that the children can eat for dinner.
And the sacks themselves matter too. The plain brown lunch bags are made beautiful with the artwork of children – kids who decorate the bags in the most elaborate ways. Sometimes they feature riddles: What do you call a pig that does karate? A pork chop! In addition to the fruit, the protein, and the veggie, the bags matter too, and no lunch went out the door without the beauty of one kid’s art donning the sack that would go to another in need. The art work is a connector. The riddles are a way of reaching out – from one kid to another – even without knowing each other personally.
With better nutrition, kids avoid challenges with brain development. When they get enough to eat, they also have stronger immune systems, miss less school, get better grades, and have a healthier foundation for their future.
The riddles on the bags made us volunteers laugh too – touchpoints in a community. Contributing , blending our talents, and donating to this common cause were fuel for our souls. They say that one of the best treatments for depression is helping others and the happiest people are those who log the most charitable hours. Caring through contributing is surely about those we help, but it’s also about us and about how good it feels to give.
What do you call an alligator that wears a vest? An investigator!
Laughing together, pitching in to spread peanut butter, pack sacks, and deliver suppers are all to the good. Many hands make light work, and it is work that matters so much.
 This number is slated to double in January.