When Someone Is Hungry, Offer Them Food

Grace Bruneel

COVID-19 has brought about many big changes in everyone’s life. With the widespread loss of jobs, new groups of people are joining the poverty line. In 2021, Su Bong Zen Monastery raised some funds and worked with different organizations to distribute vegetarian lunchboxes and daily necessities to the needy. More than eleven times, Zen Master Dae Kwan, together with the sunims and volunteers, distributed more than 8,500 lunchboxes to the elderly, the poor, and the homeless.

In the past, recipients of lunchboxes were usually elderly, but now we are seeing more and more young families, in which both parents suddenly lost their jobs, coming to receive lunchboxes. We are grateful to the organizations who responded creatively and with sensitivity, so that these activities could still go on in the worst of times. One of the organizations, Food Angel, even introduced lunchbox vending machines, which work with QR codes. In this way, families can get their lunchboxes safely simply by scanning QR codes with their phones.

The last distribution was done in memory of Myong Hae Sunim. The organization announced there would be lunchbox distribution together with bags of rice and other gifts from Su Bong Zen Monastery. As past experience had shown its popularity, we expected about two hundred people. We ordered 230 boxes so that there would be some left over. Still, 260 people turned up, and we were short by thirty lunchboxes. We had to solve this situation on the spot, because we wanted to make everybody happy. After some discussion, finally wisdom appeared, and the problem was solved. The last thirty sets of lunchboxes and gifts were divided into sixty portions. The last sixty people each got a little bit less, but all got lots of happiness!