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Give Us Today Our Daily Bread

The Lord's Prayer doesn't provide the chance to ask for our weekly bread.

Nor our monthly bread.

Surely not our yearly bread-we'd never survive to eat and digest its carbohydrates, fiber, protein, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, iron, potassium and all its other many nutrients so vital to us.

Our daily bread.

That's what the prayer seeks.

That is, indeed, our human daily need.

Food. Sustenance. Nothing fancy. We don't pray for shrimp and prime rib. Not in The Lord's Prayer, anyway.

That's no knock on prime rib or shrimp. I have voted for both before, and more than once. But with so many people genuinely praying for the daily bread they need to survive, praying for surf and turf specialties seems wrong. Stick to the words Jesus gave us and we'll do fine.

Live by them and we'll do even better.

Our daily bread is the basic stuff we need to survive. Yes, it's a loaf of bread. But humanity doesn't live on bread alone. Though some, tragically, don't even have enough of that.

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors-all of them-recently demonstrated their understanding of the importance of our daily bread needs and, in particular, the role played in meeting those needs by the local non-profit organization, and perfectly named, Daily Bread, a nutrition program for senior citizens.

Daily Bread faces a $60,000 cut in federal funding next year and every penny, literally, counts. That cut is the largest in the 21-year experience of Darlene Hartley, director of the program. The Board of Supervisors responded to a plea from Hartley and voted to stop charging Daily Bread $150 a month rent for use of the SCOPE building to feed senior citizens.

Supervisors illustrated their understanding that the need for daily bread, and the needs of Daily Bread, are more than crust deep. Eliminating the rental payments will save Daily Bread $14,400 a year, a substantial amount of money for the non-profit and one that could purchase a considerable amount of food for the senior citizens served.

Daily Bread, Hartley told Supervisors, currently has 45 clients in Prince Edward, with 60 more people on a waiting list.

The need, clearly, is great.

As is the value of the humanitarian service provided by Daily Bread and its dedicated staff.

“When I am forced to make budget cuts,” she told Supervisors, “it affects the people in our homebound program.”

Those are people in our community who cannot afford to be affected.

Daily Bread also serves clients in Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg and Nottoway Counties.

The same waive-the-rent request has been made to all seven Boards of Supervisors. Two of them answered “No.”

A lousy reply.

Daily Bread deserves better.

More importantly, the senior citizens that the exemplary organization serves deserve better.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?

Imagining Boards of Supervisors members depending on a non-profit for their daily bread is difficult to do.

Imagining their response to Daily Bread's request had they themselves experienced a life of prolonged hunger, on the other hand, is easier.