Hunger: DOING Something

Hunger1She did something. In a world where hunger is an epidemic and food is appropriately sent to feed the hungry overseas, we often forget that there are hungry children at our own doorstep. Carolyn did not forget.

And she did something about it.

My friend, Carolyn Niemeyer’s, vision has become a reality.

It’s official now. She is a hero. She has been honored and feted by the best and the brightest. She has stood before boards of education and commissioners while receiving high praise. She has fought for the rights of children to eat even as she has battled cancer in her own body. It is a fight she has won on both fronts. With the Backpack Food Program’s most recent award as the Non-Profit of the Year as recognized by WTVI over dozens of non-profits in the Greater Charlotte Region, she has led a movement to feed those who cannot feed themselves.

Carolyn Niemeyer represents everything good about people who care in Gaston County, North Carolina. She did not wait for someone else to do what God laid on her heart. Instead, she did it herself. She did not sit back and play the “Ain’t It Awful” Game where the constant refrain is ”Somebody Ought To Do Something”. Instead, she did it. Hunger2

She had help of course. All great efforts do. Resources and coordinated leaders worked well together as help came from all quarters. Caromont Health provided affordable food service prices and powerful public relations help. Gaston County Schools Executive Valerie Yatko provided the leadership from within and the caring infrastructure to reach inside of each school to find the children who were hungry. Various churches and social service organizations pitched in with funds and volunteers to pickup, prepare, and deliver the food into backpacks of needy children. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and Pastor Brack East, her home church and Pastor, led the way with facilities and accounting help. But Carolyn is the detailed catalyst who goes through every project with a fine-toothed comb of particularity.

She’s married to famous Gaston County physician, Dr. Charles Niemeyer, and has reared great children and grandchildren. To her, all children are great beginning with her own. She has faithfully served the community in countless capacities. But now she is living in her own magnum opus.

Every week during the school year, 600-700 children go home with full heads and full backpacks to feed hungry stomachs until subsidized meals at school resume during the week. The passion of her life in recent years is making sure that hungry children get fed on the weekends when otherwise they would have gone hungry. The Backpack Food Program continues to receive funds, resources, and influence from a variety of sources- many of which are unexpected.

Robert Kennedy was famous for quoting George Bernard Shaw as he often said, “Some see things as they are and say ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and say ‘Why Not?’ ” Every week when otherwise hungry children go home with food to eat for the weekend provided by a coordinated community effort that they will never see, there is one lady who lays her head upon her pillow and knows, “I helped.” And I am convinced the Father in heaven says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant… I was hungry and you fed me.”
You see, when Carolyn has fed the least of these, she has done it to Him and for Him.
I am glad to live in the same community with her and those who serve children with her.

P.S. I am a Board Member of the Backpack Food Program. I believe because Carolyn believes.

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