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KEEPING THE FAITH | Many ways to help others in November

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If we are not directly impacted, we all know someone who has been struggling, As we conclude the month, I want to challenge us to give thoughtful consideration as to how we can be a blessing to others in these areas.    

The month of November has been a time to promote awareness of diabetes, homelessness and prostate cancer. 

If we are not directly impacted, we all know someone who has been struggling, As we conclude the month, I want to challenge us to give thoughtful consideration as to how we can be a blessing to others in these areas.     

Diabetes Awareness Month is an opportunity to communicate the seriousness of diabetes, often referred to as the ‘silent killer.” It also provides the chance to stress the importance of diabetes prevention and control. The American Diabetes Association has used this month as an opportunity to raise awareness of the disease and its serious complications. 

Mercy Health has an excellent Diabetes Education Department which offers self-management programs to assist you and your family to learn and take an active role in diabetes care. Call 330-480-2676 for information about the services they provide. Mercy offers an amazing Stepping Out Exercise Program which is virtual and on-site at no cost. For information or scheduling for a nutritional educator or a personal trainer, call Doris Bullock, project coordinator, at 330-480-8659. 

Health is a form of wealth. During the COVID-19 pandemic, preventive health measures are especially essential. We need to be healthy examples for our children in the area of nutrition. We need to ensure we eat right, exercise, and take time to rest and relax — all of which are vital for the mind, body and soul! 

However, our bodies cannot support us unless our minds resolve to take care and be careful. I realize this is much easier said than done, especially when acknowledging the issues of food insecurities attributed in part to issues such as poverty and food deserts.

As we enter the Holy Day season, let’s realize that there are those among us, both our young and elders, whose weeks ahead are not necessarily overflowing with tiding of comfort and joy. Despite the reason or circumstance, we know that people in need can be helped if we choose to do so.  

Jesus expressed clearly our opportunity and obligation to extend ourselves to others with a need we can fill. In Mathew 25:42-45, Jesus says, “For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed Me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give Me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite Me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give Me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit Me.’ Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ And He will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help Me.’”

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week is observed each year during the week before Thanksgiving. This is a time for us all to think deeply about what we are thankful for, a perfect time to share our compassion with our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness and to work toward a world where no one has to experience hunger or homelessness.  

In remembrance of a loved one or mentor who was there for you when you needed them most, consider thanking and offering support to those who illuminate our paths with hopefulness and exemplify kindness even if it is not reciprocated. Consider gifting a blessing of your time, talent and/or treasury to local faith-based efforts such as The Dorothy Day House or the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley that each serves individuals and families. 

If you have seen me recently unshaven, it’s for a good cause! I am promoting Movember which is an annual event involving the growing of mustaches and facial hair during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s suicide. Movember seeks to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides annual check-ups, the vision of Movember encourages men to be aware of family history of cancer and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.  

No-Shave November is another experience where men don’t shave, groom, or cut their facial hair for the entire month of November as a way of raising awareness and money to fight cancer. It is an excellent conversation starter to encourage men to take a proactive and preventive approach to their health care needs. 

As the local coordinator of the Mahoning Valley African American Male Wellness Agency, which features the annual 5K walk, these ideals align with our community’s efforts to promote physical health and mental wellness. We offer — at no cost to participants — varied health screens, nutritional education, fitness education, access to community resources via engaged government, civic and medical partnerships in an outdoor festival-like setting. Our mantra has been for men to know their numbers, visit the doctor regularly, get active and be transparent about their emotional needs as well. 

I encourage men to get tested annually and know their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) number. PSA screening for men are encouraged beginning at age 50, however it is recommended that men who are at higher risk of prostate cancer, including African American men and those whose father or brother had prostate cancer, begin screening at age 40 or 45.

Looking for a great gift to present this year? Give the gift of yourself this season! It is priceless! 

While I appreciate the use of technology, we need to exercise balance.  We live in a high-tech, low-touch culture, dictated by the beeps, buzzes and flashing lights on our hand-held and laptop devices as if they were a part of our anatomy.  

This current pandemic has only fueled this behavior. Take a Sabbath from all the apps on your device and consider turning the “on” switch “off.” Use the time instead to reconnect with those closest to you and for personal reflection. 

We were made for togetherness and admittedly this is even more challenging during COVID when many of us are alone and isolated. We long for this sense of belonging especially when we cannot physically be with those we love. Yet, each of us still have much to be thankful for — our lives, families, and friendships that fulfill us.  

While we have many challenges, let’s resolve to face them with faith, fortitude and yes, keeping the faith! 

The Rev. Lewis W. Macklin II serves as the lead pastor of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, chaplain for the Youngstown Police Department and local coordinator for the African American Male Wellness Walk of the Mahoning Valley. He resides in Youngstown with Dorothy, his partner in marriage and ministry. They share the love and joy of six children and seven grandchildren.

— All biblical citations are New Living Translation unless noted otherwise

 

https://www.mahoningmatters.com/community-columns/keeping-the-faith-many-ways-to-help-others-in-november-2908479

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