When we talk about feeding the hungry, we usually talk about feeding people who literally don’t have enough to eat. There are kids in my area who grab a bag of chips from the convenience store because it’s cheaper than buying a sandwich and an apple. It’s also cheaper than paying for the school lunch if they don’t quite qualify for free meals.

Yes, there is a desperate need to feed people in a physical sense. In a world with so much excess, it’s tragic that anyone goes without the basic necessities like food.

But sometimes we also need to provide for people who are hungry in other ways. Maybe you know a woman who is spiritually starving. Or a young man who could use a mentor because he is thirsty for wisdom. Perhaps there is someone who is about to cross your path who just wants connection. They simply want to know that they are seen.

Louise Thomsen from Perham, Minnesota, has a special message she wants to share with a few people she hopes will be reading this column. Her soul was fed recently by strangers when she sat down for a meal with her husband.

“We are an elderly couple. We have been married 67 years. My husband joined the army when he was 17, right after high school graduation. His mother had to sign for him so that he could enlist.

He was in the reserves and served again when the Korean conflict broke out. We were married by then and it was a long, hard year for us — being newlyweds and him so far away. He returned and we lived our lives and had our family.

Three years ago, my husband had a stroke. He limps badly now when he walks, but his attitude is great and we continue to enjoy our lives.

On Friday, Oct. 13, we drove from our home in Perham, Minnesota, to Fargo to attend Grandparents Day at our grandson’s school. We stopped in Dilworth at the Perkins restaurant for lunch. We had a wonderful meal.

Imagine our surprise when we expected the check and instead, the cheerful waitress told us that the people in the booth behind us had not only paid our bill, but wanted us to have a piece of pie, too!

Thank you to our unknown benefactors. You made our day and the good feeling you gave us surrounded us like a happy cloud.”

It doesn’t matter whether someone can afford to pay for their own lunch or not. In a world that is starving for kindness, the question is — can we really afford not to?

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.

Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.