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In the Footsteps of St. Francis

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Message Suzana Megles
I read about Chip Paillex on Takepart this morning. It brought tears of happiness to my eyes. Here is a man who I believe is walking in the footsteps of St. Francis. And for that matter--in the present day footsteps of Pope Francis as well. Both men cared about the hungry poor and this man evidently does too.
Do we have any people in Congress of this ilk? We do, but my belief is that there are so few of them--whereas the self-serving can be found in greater numbers. I am really not capable of producing hard facts in this regard, but I have read that many of our congress people are millionaires. Where's the money coming from? Your guess is as good as mine, but I believe it is from special interests and big corporations. Am I wrong?
In Chip Paillex is a man that many of us could learn from. A former marketing manager, he and his daughter started out with a small garden they planted together. He found this work rewarding and expanded his garden to where he was putting in 80 punishing hour-weeks between his job and his garden, but that would change when he was laid off from his marketing job.
Now he could devote full time to farming and in the course of time, he has
become head of America's Grow-a-Row whose mission is simple -- grow food for those in need. And how does this farmer spend his days now that he heads an organization? Does he relax in a hammock all day just watching his crops grow? Hardly, ask any farmer and they will tell you that the work days are long and hard.
And sometimes the unexpected happens. One day after a huge thunderstorm, Paillex came out to find half of his garden of corn lying down. What would the faint of heart do? Probably just throw up their hands and say this is it. I need to do something else. Not Paillex. He went out into his field and with a hand trowel he repacked every single stalk. From this experience he learned a greater respect for those farmers who had acres of corn and had this happen to them.
One of the reasons for developing this passion to grow food for the hungry happened when he visited a food pantry where he was surprised to find that there was no produce. He had read somewhere that the pantry would accept produce donations, so he dropped some of his produce there. A woman came running after him and said --"Please promise me you will come back. I need this produce. I can't keep eating this canned and processed food."
Paillex's operation is expanding and he was in the process of buying another farm. The community also is interested in volunteering and as of now there are 4,000 volunteers. Some help pick the food. Some go out into the community and ask people what they should grow. And others help educate kids about where their food comes from.
Of these volunteers, Paillex said that they have the satisfaction of helping others. They also get insight into and understand the needs of folks whom they might have earlier dismissed as problem people. Yes, he is sounding more and more like Pope Francis to me.

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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