Why does hope matter? That’s one of the questions we’re tackling this year as we consider the importance and impact of hope in the work we do to feed Missourians in need. Many Feeding Missouri food banks like to talk about how they deliver hope as they’re delivering food.

It may seem like an obvious question, but why is that good? Put another way, why is hope almost as important as the food being delivered to the table?

If you’ve ever been in a position of needing help, then you know the challenge can come with a mix of emotions. There can be isolation, shame, despair, and frustration.

It’s easy to feel like the problem facing your family is never going away and this will be your plight regardless of any effort you put forth or good fortune that comes your way. You might think you’re the only one you know in this vulnerable position – that you’re all alone. Sometimes, there are others who make false assumptions about how you arrived in this position and that can result in a feeling of humiliation.

This is where the arrival of hope is so important. But hope for what?

I think it’s hope that circumstances CAN change. That what you’re experiencing now isn’t permanent. Improvement is possible.

I recently heard a quote that summed it up perfectly. To paraphrase, “not hope that circumstances will improve over night, but that improvement is actually possible.”

Hope can change isolation into community. It changes shame into esteem and despair into peace.

This kind of hope changes everything. It’s the kind of hope that can get you up in the morning. It can push you to keep going in the job search. It helps you get past the fear of what might lurk in the mailbox.

It’s the consideration that maybe, just maybe, the future could be brighter. Perhaps not immediately, but eventually. It’s a start.

That’s what food banks do when they deliver food and hope.