What does a commandment about stealing have to do with hunger, you ask? I began thinking about the connection when our women’s Bible study group at Incarnation is in the midst of a study on the Ten Commandments. Of course, none of us wanted to think about ourselves as thieves or robbers in any way!

It’s easier to think of stealing if we see someone pocketing candies or nuts from one of those large displays in a big chain supermarket. Or someone who manages to make off with a piece of fruit from a bin at the farmers’ market. Or perhaps someone who did not go back to the service counter to report that they had been undercharged — or not charged at all — for an item they just purchased.

But, what about food waste? Reports and studies vary but generally it is accepted that we in the United States waste nearly 40% of our food, somewhere between 73 and 150 million metric tons! Yes, some of that happens before the food arrives in our homes, but much of it happens there, too. I know people who refuse to eat “leftovers,” demanding freshly made meals daily. What happens to the remainders you bring home from eating dinner out? Often, into the garbage they go.

Splitting a meal is a good solution to not leaving a lot of food on your plate and returned to the kitchen. Then there are the tired carrots, celery or peppers one finds in the refrigerator drawer. Often, they, too, go into the garbage when a good vegetable soup could be a better answer. Or are you apt to toss something out because it says “best used by” when it certainly could still be eaten?

Isn’t waste a form of stealing? Perhaps we are more guilty of stealing than we are willing to admit or even to think about. Especially when we know there are people living with hunger not only in our country but around the world.

This might be a good day to ponder a bit about your habits. The Ten Commandments are not suggestions but a charge from our God telling how we should live in community together — with each other and with God.

Vernita Kennen
Incarnation, Shoreview

How can you prevent wasted food at home? Click here for some hints from the United States Environmental Protection Agency or do your own internet search.