Arizona has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. From legislative attempts to tear down national educational standards or bills targeting gays under the shield of protecting religious freedom, Arizona seems like a real mess. However, it's important to recall that there is another side to report.
Due to a few Tea Party radicals, Arizona has received a lot of bad press lately. However, as Kennedy once said that "no government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue." This wise reminder holds true for the people of the "Grand Canyon State".
Here's one small example of the pang of conscience leading to action.
Parker Olson for Arizona Public Radio, reports how a group of students at Northern Arizona University came up with one way to reduce waste while feeding the homeless. According to sources, university meal plans offer flexibility to students when it comes to when and how much they eat. This flexibility however comes at a cost. Every week, thousands of meal vouchers at colleges across the country go unused. This means a lot of prepared food is wasted.
NAU's voucher plan allows students to buy a certain number of meals each week. If they don't use them all by Saturday night, the vouchers expire.
One freshman student, Caitlin Fagan decided to put the wasted food to good use. With the help of like-minded friends, his group collects the food on campus and redistributes to people in need around Flagstaff. Some volunteers head out along Route 66 looking for the homeless and the hungry.
The article explains one case:
That's where they meet Clark Reber, who's down on his luck and staying at a local shelter. "It's awesome," Reber tells the students. "You guys are doing great work here. You're uplifting to people that are down and out and bringing food which everyone needs."
Admittedly it's a small project but it could easily be expanded and combined with similar waste-reduction efforts.
In the month since the student-run program started, organizers estimate they've fed about 100 people. If there's any food left after their Saturday night runs, they donate it to a local rescue mission. The group hopes to keep growing and become another reliable source for feeding Flagstaff's hungry and homeless.
Certainly the down and out need all the help they can get. It all boils down to priorities and responsibilities to help without judgement.