Monday, March 14, 2011

Charity Begins at Home

The Market is a vital source of fresh produce for city-dwellers

Everyone knows the old adage "Charity begins at home."  It's quoted frequently enough!  But what's this got to do with Food, you might ask? 

Well, in the aftermath of the feasting and plenty of Mardi Gras comes Lent, the Christian period of self-examination and the doing of good deeds.   So it seems fitting at this time to be talking about Charity.  Feeding the hungry, is, after all, one of the corporal works of mercy prescribed by the Church.  In this week's blog posts, therefore we are running with charity as our foodie theme and focusing on the March Saints: Joseph and Patrick. 

Other faiths, of course, embrace traditions of charity.  There is an ancient Jewish tradition outlined in The Torah recommending that the corners of fields remain unharvested so that "Gleaners" (i.e. the needy) could gather the leftovers after hours.   Islam enumerates charity as the Third Pillar of Faith (there are five in all).    It is considered compulsory for financially stable Muslims to help the needy with generous monetary support.  Holi is the beginning of spring for Hindus, which marks a time of charity and celebration, and during the Hindu New Year (Bikrami Samvat) which kicks in on the 4th of April, the devout give thanks for their blessings and give charity and help to the less fortunate.  (Thanks to Farah for this background info!)

Speaking of charity, the recent Valentine to the Market Gala springs to mind. You may well be wondering what is going to happen to the money raised at the enormously successful benefit.  Find entertaining, beautifully written pieces in both The Inquirer and uwishunu, which detail the Market's plans, literally explaining how the money will be spent on upgrading the bathrooms and delivery areas.   These may be essential, but they are hardly glamorous; the more exciting news is that the Market will be expanding, increasing the number of merchants, and building a new test kitchen center stage at the Market.

In terms of helping those less fortunate,  Reading Terminal Market is the largest redeemer of food stamps for low-income households in PA.  Considering that fact,  it is of particular importance that the Market be preserved to ensure access to healthy, fresh food for all members of our community. 

We were thrilled that the Market decided to spend money upgrading its space and facilities in order to enhance the shopping experience for all of its visitors.  Of course, we thought it was pretty darn near perfect before, so the upgrades are simply the icing on the cake!

Plans are already afoot for the 2012 Gala.  Follow for the latest scoop

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