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(post, Cindy Pepple)
Almost every news program we watch these days has a story about people who have lost their jobs, are looking for jobs or are afraid they will lose their jobs. What we don't see very much of is the number of people all around us who are self employed and have watched their business disappear as a result of the tightening economy. They may not be laid off exactly, but they aren't earning any income either. When my sister found out that a friend of ours was in this situation, she wanted to do something for him. In spite of her good fortune of late, she realized it was impractical to just lend him money. She thought about the fact that one of the first things people do is stop eating out when money is tight. Doing that not only eliminates the spending however. It adds to the person's isolation since they don't go out and see people anymore. She's an excellent cook, having been a professional chef in the past and my brother-in-law isn't home during the week so she doesn't have anyone to cook for. So she came up with the great idea of the Huddled Masses Dinner. Every Wednesday she makes dinner for him, and I. Now we are taking turns doing the cooking. As we find out about others in trouble, we'll add to the guest list. Our summer gardens will add to the bounty. We can either feel helpless when we watch what's happening or we can put our love of good food and fellowship to good use. These aren't fancy affairs but they make all the difference in the world to someone who suddenly can't afford to go out. And we're having a great time on Wednesday nights.