Walking to C33 (code for my gate at the airport), I was met by one of those Pass It On billboards; this one had a photo of Nelson Mandela with the quotation: "What can one person do?"
The Feedback team are wonder workers, more like modern-day Johnny Appleseeds only what they're planting is knowledge: 40 percent of all food produced annually in the U.S. is never eaten. Four zero. The Feedback team smartly wraps its message by rescuing food destined for landfills (and gleaned from farm fields) and, partnering with local chefs who whip the rescued food into a magically delicious vegetarian or vegan meal, serve amazingly nutritious free lunches with a side of awareness to the masses in a public square. It's a brilliant idea that takes months to organize but it's proof of what one person--in this case, Tristram Stuart, the founder of Feedback and Feeding the 5000 events--can do.
This paragraph is about a part of L.A. that I've never heard of, until I walked it: Skid Row. A several-blocks-long testament to callousness. A hard patch of concrete with no apparent press outside of the city but a place where several people lay agonizing in the street on their backs in the late-morning. Others sitting under stained and fraying quilts doubling as tents, looking numbly at another moment passing by. I half expected nuns in white and blue habits to walk into view and begin administering aid; I wondered how a developed nation could look the other way.
In fairness, the same day I walked through Skid Row, I picked up a free local newspaper which featured an editorial about the neighborhood. The gist of the piece was that everyone involved--those on city council and those in relief agencies--knew that something must happen to relieve the suffering. Between the lines of the thoughtfully written editorial were good intentions. From a distance--say, from the roadside--those lines looked a lot like printed words on a page.
Words resembling these. Which, for people living and dying on a stretch of sidewalk in a land of abundance, amount to just another moment passing by.