The Best are here, ready for service

The results from the annual Star-News readers poll are published today.
Readers who chimed in voted on an array of topics from best car wash to best hospital, from best teacher to best dentist. Clearly everyone has an opinion.

It’s easy to know whose opinions are right and whose are wrong; which people you should listen to and which ones you tune out as though they are a dripping faucet. The ones who agree with you know what they’re talking about. The ones who don’t, don’t.

My opinion has seldom, if ever, been changed by the results of a poll. I once saw the results of a regional poll that revealed participants believed Taco Bell served the best Mexican food in the area. As convenient and fast as they are, I’d probably vote for some’s aunt in her kitchen before I voted for Taco Bell as Best Mexican food.

Other choices, however, are virtually indisputable.

Anyone who has experienced hunger knows what it does to you. Initially, the emptiness in your stomach whispers at you. The desire to eat is still something wanted, not needed. It can be ignored for a time; tuned out long enough to accomplish whatever has been prioritized higher—showering, applying makeup, sending a text, working. But with each passing hour the void gnaws at you. The distracted mind stutters and the body follows. The desire gradually becomes a need. Nothing else matters.

Anyone with an imagination can appreciate what it means to not have a home. The absence of a shelter—a space one can claim as their own, somewhere they can find peace and safety and refuge—can leave one unsettled. It can go beyond merely not having a place to lay your head to feeling as though one does not have a place in the world.

We know from our own experience food and shelter are two of the most basic, simplest necessities of life. They are foundations for good health. They are precursors to dignity and hope.

This year’s Editor’s Choice recipient, Community Through Hope, provides a variety of services to the unsheltered and food insecure relatives and friends among us who often are unseen or ignored. Recognizing a need to help fill empty stomachs as the first step in strengthening an individual’s resolve and ability to carry on, they help build better communities.