So Others May Eat — at holiday time
By James Palombo
I just returned from another SOME (So Others May Eat) program luncheon. I’ve only attended a few of these gatherings but for Joe and Antonette Lim it’s been 25 years and almost 300,000 servings that have been portioned out. That’s right – a quarter of a century and over a quarter of a million lunches served. And this is amid the other activities that happen via the program, activities which include Family Social Integration meetings, Leadership and Training seminars, Prison Visitations, Hygiene Classes, a Ladies Sewing Cooperative, a Food Pantry Outreach and the administration of a Benevolence Fund that further helps people in need. It’s not the grandest of programs but the energy and spiritual strength exhibited by the Lims always makes me shake my head in admiration. But they are quick to point out that although they contribute money from their Spa business (located at Recreo#38) the additional funds to support this span of activities come from the Christian Church Outreach, donations from those so inclined (they can certainly use more assistance) and a number of fundraisers. And in terms of the luncheon itself, although the kitchen staff is donated via the Lim’s Spa, the support group which attends and serves lunches to those 150 to 200 seated participants is made up of local, national and international volunteers – what the Lims reference as the backbone of their/any well-intentioned charity program.
This Wednesday was the Christmas serving and as it is with the other weekly Wednesday gatherings the ages of those present covered a lot of ground, this time ranging from two months to 97 years. (This mix alone is a genuine experience.) And given that it was a holiday luncheon, the usual serving and music, songs, dancing and of course prayer were all accompanied by the giving of a special Christmas bag filled with foodstuffs. The idea was that people could then share this food with their families at home – just an additional holiday “touch of the heart” from the Lims. All and all, it was indeed a very heartful afternoon.
I guess one could say that the spirit and dedication of the Lims mirrors the many efforts that take place in San Miguel and across the world as well, every day of the year. It’s the nature of charity work that comes from the grace of God and elsewhere and it seems to keep what is often the unsteady ship of life afloat. And when I participated in the SOME holiday proceedings, and again recognized the dignity and soul surrounding their entire program, I got the feeling that can only come by experiencing what people like the Lims do. It’s a feeling that cannot be manufactured – it’s simply just felt – by means of an effort put forth in the true meaning of paz y amor, week in and week out. In all honesty I felt lucky to be provided the chance to recognize this sensation in myself, and for that I am sincerely grateful to all those who were present on Wednesday.
Although a lot more can be said about the holiday gathering (and the many similar events held within the San Miguel community) I trust that all of you reading this can grasp the depth of what the SOME program and the Lims have been part of. They asked me to relay that on behalf of them, their supporters and the program participants, the wish for a happy and thoughtful holiday season is extended – and may the New Year bring the elements of hope and joy more readily to your table.
(As a brief addendum to this piece let me add that the poverty and hunger in the world are not things to celebrate. Yet, in the context of efforts like that of Lims and particularly at this time of the year, the closing words of Max Ehrmann in Desiderata come to mind: “Whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.”)