Okay, so Cans Around the Oval was yesterday right? We all know we should donate some food or spare change or something, but we might not get around to it. I know I’m busy. Midterms are coming up and I don’t have any money anyway; I’ve been eating Ramen for a week. If it’s convenient, no problem, but if it takes some extra time, frankly I don’t know that it’ll get done. However, I’m not writing an article to whine about Ramen.
Once upon a time on a Saturday morning last year, I had to get up early to do some required community service at the local foodbank. I’d gone out the night before and my head felt less then healthy. I really wasn’t too thrilled about how I’d be spending the next four hours of my life.
When we arrived, I walked into the lounge of the Foodbank of the Rockies and deja vu hit me like a ton of rocks. Those small white round tables, and plastic chairs. Forgotten memories flooded my mind. I’d been there before.
When I was growing up, my parents owned their own business, a family business. Having your own business sounds secure, unfortunately, their particular business seemed to be going financially downhill ever since I can remember.
My sisters and I just got used to not asking for things when we went to the grocery store. If we did ask, Mom would just say no – and then she would feel bad that she couldn’t get it for us. We had garage sales all the time too. I never realized that we were selling our things to pay our rent, nor did I until Mom told me when I was older. And every month or so, we would go to the foodbank. I had been in this room as a child.
I had always been so embarrassed to go to foodbanks and thrift stores when I was growing up. Thrift stores weren’t so cool in the 1980s. No kid wants to feel like his or her family is poor.
What I didn’t realize, then, is the trouble those places gave me in my elementary social circle stood far beneath the hope they gave my mother to get through another day. A day of her children asking for things she couldn’t afford, and receiving bills that there was no money to satisfy. The foodbank I stood in gave my family food to fill our bellies and peace to fill my mother’s mind.
As a child, this place helped feed me, helped keep my mother sane, and sheltered me from how severe my family’s situation really was. I grew up knowing my family didn’t have money, but it didn’t seem to matter too much. Much admiration is due to my mother for that.
When you’re giving food to people who really need it, you’re doing so much more for them then filling their stomachs. You’re taking away their worries and freeing up the money they do have to get some bills out of the way. You’re giving them more quality time with their family because they already have food on the table.
Don’t tell me you don’t have time for that.