Be the Change by Sharing Your Summer Bounty

Reader Contribution by Renea Winchester
1 / 2
2 / 2

Earlier this week I posted a blog that encouraged readers to unplug and disconnect from the negativity in this world, and then actively seek someone to bless.

Have you found someone? Have you actively looked for someone to bless?

C’mon now. The world is desperate for healing. You have the cure. You can #BeTheChange And if your have produce that is about to go to ruin, you can bless someone (yes, even with your surplus zucchini, although I highly recommend including tomatoes and maybe corn with your care package). 

Have you passed someone and felt that little nudge in your heart, a knowing that you have the power to help them if only for one moment?

I have.

There’s been a family on my radar, one with two boys that aren’t yet school age. I see them every day as I travel to work, and every day I think I’ll be brave enough to stop. Yet each afternoon I pass by, too busy (correction: too preoccupied with my own busy, silly, stupid life) to stop.

Today was no different, the voice urged me to pull in, instructed me to stop.

Yet I drove past their cinder-block home, trying to ignore the two shirtless boys who played behind the house near the tomato plants, spindly little things that don’t have a prayer of blooming, planted in the shade as they are, leaning toward the sun.

I got home, let the dog out to do her business and there it was, The Voice telling me that I had plenty of tomatoes to share, that I couldn’t possibly eat all the tomatoes, that this family could very well need some hope and there I was being greedy and hoarding up fresh vegetables.

“Alright!” I said to the voice, while quickly adding, “but if I get shot and killed my blood is on your hands!” I spoke this aloud.

We are Americans after all, land of the trigger-happy.

I grabbed the tomatoes, seriously worried about my safety, and let me PREACH about obstacles, about how the evil one will do everything possible, including causing your call to stall out, in order to keep you from helping someone else.

But I was on the path, on the path to blessing someone, so get out of my way, evil one. I’ll walk if necessary.

Upon arriving at their house I was greeted with two BEWARE OF DOG signs and barking. Lots of barking.


I left the car door open, engine running.

Lord,” I said.

That’s all I said, because that was the only thing to say, Lord.

The screen door opened before I was even out of the car. A small woman, smaller than me, with long black hair appeared.

Offering the bag of tomatoes, I said. “I’ve got too many. Do you like tomatoes?”

“They’re my favorite,” she said. Her voice small and jittery as a rabbit.

Anyone who plants tomatoes in the shade is desperate for some tangy goodness.

“If you don’t mind, I have extra and I’d like to drop them off from time to time … be a shame to waste them.”

She nodded and my heart beat a bit faster. Something magical was happening.

A shirtless boy appeared, shy … painfully shy.

“You like spaghetti sauce?” I asked.

He looked at her for the answer.

” ‘Cause I’ve made some, just canned. I’ll drop some off if you’d like.”

She extended her hand, told me her name. “If you need help canning, I’d be happy to help.”

And for a moment I thought about loading them in the car and taking them to my dad’s where I’ve been cooking and canning up a storm, but then that voice (the fearful one) whispered you can’t trust people. You can’t bring them into your dad’s house. They might put a bullet in him and then what would you do?

And just like that I was back to the beginning, back to the battle against evil, and fear. Back to the point most Americans are, where they are too afraid to do anything so they stay home and do nothing, letting their vegetables wither and die on the vine. Tell me, how can we conquer this fear? Truly, with so much fear in today’s world how can we help those in need? Am I naive to believe that we can change the lives of two shirtless boys and their rail-thin mother with a basket of tomatoes?

Until I discover an answer I must ask … who have you helped today?

Photo by Fotolia/Dusan Kostic

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of several e-book collections and three traditionally-published non-fiction books including her latest: Farming, Friends and Fried Bologna Sandwiches from Mercer University Press. She is passionate about heritage seeds and saving daffodils. When she isn’t digging in the dirt she is hoarding canning jars and reading good books. She also posts on her blog, Bloggin’ Billy’s. Find her also at Renea Winchester.

Need Help? Call 1-866-803-7096