In these days of worry and economic problems, "Love, Trust, Faith, Charity and Hope" are what we need and are found in the practice of our faith.

It is putting into practice the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I recently returned home from the glorious mountains in Colorado. As I looked at the green, rippling fields and the puffy white clouds billowing high in the blue Kansas sky, I experienced the peace and tranquility that our prairie land always transmits to me.

We are blessed in so many ways even though many in our community face problems and deprivation that they have never before experienced.

The choice between "medicine or food or rent" is more often experienced these days because of layoffs, cuts in services or in hours.

Some helps are right in front of us, but we are not always aware of them. I just learned of what I can only term "a diamond in the rough" or the "hidden pearl." Not a genuine jewel, but a very real blessing that I had not been aware of, and I do not believe many others know of this.

At one time Ellis County was involved in a share program. From this concept, a new program, "Communities in Action," arose to provide better access to low-cost quality food.

Prairie Land Food is a nonprofit organization that looked for a better way to assist communities. Prairie Land Food's mission "is to provide a nutritious food package at a low cost to help stretch food dollars."

Let me back up a little and start by talking about volunteering. Our community is endowed with many faithful volunteers: those who serve in the Community Assistance Center, First Call for Help, St. Joseph's Pantry, Foster Grandparent-Senior Companions, scout leaders, churches, prayer chain volunteers, and even those who smile warmly at others in the grocery store. There are so many others that I cannot even begin to list them all.

The Prairie Land Food brochure states, "Volunteer work is anything that you do out of the kindness of your heart that you do not get paid for. It can be as simple as being on a prayer chain, being a room mother at school, sharing your bountiful garden, taking time to sit and have a cup of coffee with an elderly neighbor or spending time with someone going through a rough time.

"Anytime that you make someone's day a little brighter will qualify you."

If you are a volunteer and would like to access low-cost food of good quality, then you can participate in this Prairie Land Food program. This is not a government program and has no income eligibility requirements like the commodity program.

It is available in other counties in Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska. Perhaps you do not wish to use this for yourself, but know of others who might be interested.

The Prairie Pak includes frozen meats, fresh fruits and vegetables for a reasonable low cost. No minimum participation is required.

Once a month on a predetermined schedule, the opportunity to purchase designated food packages is given to anyone who volunteers in any way. Delivery of orders is possible and is also available at senior living centers.

"Because you serve others, we serve you!" is stated on the brochure. They help anyone who takes advantage of their food program but they also strive to give back to community projects by way of grants and in the future hope to have a scholarship program.

Sound too good to be true? That always raises a flag of caution. Call Laurie at the Hays Community Assistance Center (785) 625-9110. A schedule and more information on the content of the food packs is available.

The Web site that tells much more about this service is

Ruth Moriarity is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.