It can be a simple fix or a covering over a wound. Recently a construction crew doing roadwork cut a fiber optics cable that served as the main Internet trunk line for a rather large library system. The slice of the cable cut all Internet connections to all twelve libraries operating in the system serving almost half a million people locally and even more online. Within five minutes of hearing the news and the delay in restoring power, someone was asking about a “band-aid” or a fix to the problem which, by the way, still has not been repaired.
The advent of covering wounds may seem like a simple way to prevent wounds but it took quite a few years for the “band-aid” to gain respect as a medical tool. Many believed that to cover the wound meant locking germs inside. No one imagined that such a covering could prevent germs and bacteria in the air from getting into the open wound.
In 1920 an employee at Johnson and Johnson, an American company of household products, devised a way for his wife to dress the wounds she often incurred while cooking. At first these strips of adhesive bandages were not popular but within four years they were sterilized and gained in popularity. A simple compound word formed from a word meaning come together and assistance had also been born.
Fast forward to the late seventies and we see the beginning of a different type of band-aid, a type that would provide not a temporary assistance but a “fix” that would mean everything to those in need. This type of band-aid, much like the original, came about because of a problem and a need.
A boy born in the early 1950’s named Bob grew up in a very strict Catholic school without any real athletic ability, especially in the popular game of rugby. The subsequent bullying he faced gave him a sour attitude about school and a desire to go elsewhere. Landing in Canada he sought work as a music journalist, later starting his own band. As he explained, it was because he wanted “To get rich, to get famous and to get laid”.
By the mid 1980’s, though, this man named Bob had a more humanitarian attitude and saw music as a way of raising awareness, especially about the famine that was currently plaguing several African countries. In the summer of 1985 Bob Geldof was one of the primary people behind the Live Aid Concert, an event sponsored by Band-Aid, a charity made up of mostly Irish and English musicians that had been formed in 1984. In November of 1984, Geldof had released a music video unlike any other. He sang the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas” while showing pictures and video of starving children. This video had no slick costumes or choreographed dancers. It was stark reality and moved many. It became the impetus for Live-Aid, an intercontinental televised concert from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
The young boy who had once been bullied now implored the people of the world to open their eyes and help however they could and he called upon the leaders of the world to do their part as well. In his own words, Geldof explains how he became an international humanitarian. “It seems so long ago now that we asked for your help. … It was only meant to last seven weeks, but I hadn’t counted on the fact that hundreds of millions of people would respond and I hadn’t reckoned on over 100 million dollars.” Last year Band-Aid celebrated thirty years, still raising money and feeding the hungry worldwide.
There are hungry children in every country of the world. To be sure, there are some more than others but every country had its hungry children. You might not be able to play in a rock band but you can also be a humanitarian and help feed those hungry children. Soup kitchens worldwide and food pantries exist that could use your help. Whether it is baking a casserole or donating food items, you can do something at a minimal cost.
The Backpack program is a system at schools in the United States of America. Begun by teachers who saw students going home and not knowing if they would have food to eat, they developed a way to provide food and maintain the child’s dignity. Backpacks of food are distributed to children in need through their school system each Friday afternoon or before a long holiday weekend. These children who are at risk of what is called “weekend hunger” are then able to take home a backpack filled with nutritionally healthy, nonperishable, easy to prepare meals.
I feel blessed to know two people who have begun such programs in their towns. One I met through an online course several years ago. He would be the first to tell you he is nobody special although the children he has helped feed would disagree. In a search for spiritual fulfillment, he asked what he could do and he started small. He worked out of his garage with neighbor volunteers for the first two years but then his program was adopted by his church and later his business and now many churches and businesses. Now these children in a very large metropolitan area are going home with food instead of fear of hunger.
More recently I had the blessed fortune of seeing another side of a woman whose back I had seen often. She sat several pews in front of me at church. She is a congenial person with a beautiful smile but I seldom saw it because, as I mentioned, I always sat behind her. Still, there seemed to be something that radiated from her and people were drawn to her. While this lovely lady stands taller than many, she really soared to new heights when I learned she also had begun a backpack program for hungry children in our area. Having volunteered at a school in a depressed area, I also had worried about this children and their weekend hunger.
This person whom I am happy to call a new friend is a giant to these children, not because of her stature but because of her humanitarian efforts in feeding them. They may never see her face but her goodness helps them every day. Passing her on the street you would notice her ever-present smile and lovely appearance but you might not notice that halo of humanitarian goodness. She might just appear ….normal.
That’s the beauty of manifesting our faith and living our beliefs. Any person can do it. We can all help in many ways and the Backpack program is just one. I hope you seek out ways you can feed the children of your area. Bob Geldof said it best: “Our idea was to open the avenues of possibility. The possibilities of ending hunger in Africa are there. There can be other Band-Aids, there must be others, in new times, in different ways. I said once that we could be more powerful in memory than in reality. Now we are that memory. The avenues of possibility have been opened. Walk down them. Goodbye and thank you for everything.” When you feed another, you feed your soul.