Go without to help those in need


On a recent Friday morning, I awoke to a putrid smell and a bathtub full of sewage backup; it was not my best morning. As my wife so aptly put it, “After 83 years of faithful service at a thankless job, our sewer mainline was now only good for flushing one thing … money.”

We then got to experience the joy of a day without indoor plumbing. It was miserable. How grateful I am for a skilled craftsman who worked late into the night to ensure that it really was only one day.

I am not sure who first said it, but many have said rightly that we never fully appreciate something until we have to go without it. For me, it was certainly true with indoor plumbing.

In my faith, once a month, members go without food and water for 24 hours and then take the money saved and give it to the church to help those in need. It’s called fast offerings, and I love the practice. There are many reasons, but mostly it reminds me what it is like to go without and how fortunate I am that I do not have to go without food.

It also reminds me how good very simple foods are. I’m sure anyone with kids has heard, “Dad, I’m hungry,” coming from their child 15 minutes after they refused to touch dinner.

“That’s OK,” I reply, “because we have leftover stir-fry, broccoli or there is a banana on the table.”

“I’m not hungry for that. I want a cookie!”

I wish I could say that this “rich man’s hunger” only plagued my children. But honestly, I have looked into my fridge full of food many times and thought, “I’m not hungry for that.” After 24 hours without food, I have never thought, “I’m not hungry for that,” even if all there was broccoli.

In the U.S., there are always those in need, but with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, are without basic necessities of life that we take for granted every day. We have been so blessed. Most of us have such an abundance that the only hunger we ever feel is the kind my kids feel when they crave a cookie.

We can find a way to reach out and help. I know many consistently give, and I thank you. However, if you are saying “But I don’t have much extra,” then go without for a day. Try going without food, eat out a little less, cancel the cable subscription and then send what you save to those who will be forced to go without for a lot longer than a day.

I have found that going without because you have to can be miserable, but going without to help those who have no choice can be wonderful.

Nathaniel Kaey Gee resides in Boulder City with his wife and six kids. He is a civil engineer by day and enjoys writing any chance he gets. You can follow his work on his blog www.thegeebrothers.com.