Sunday, March 2, 2008

Food, Glorious Food.

A few weeks ago, Sweet Pea and her girl scout troop, visited a food shelf. It was a real nice field trip. The girls got to learn about people who don't have much money for food. They also learned that the food shelf has more than just food. They have diapers, aluminum foil and other household items as they come in. Some community groups will periodically donate quilts or home made baby blankets for the food shelf to distribute too.

The director of the food shelf also said that corporate stores like Target will send some of their clearance items to them. They even had a few clearance car seats that were greatly appreciated by the families that needed them.

They also had a hallway filled with donuts, rolls, cakes and pies. It took all the will power I had to stop from sneaking a bismark out of the box. I don't think Sweet Pea would like me stealing from the needy. Unless I split it with her, of course.

It was nice to see that someone in the community is making sure that families in need in our area have the necessities. It was also a little humbling to see that, even though the basics were covered at the food shelf, they had very few luxuries. The shelf had a few semi-exotic items like, mushrooms, fancy olives or ethnic foods. But they had no ice cream, chocolate or fun snack items. I know that kids don't have to have fun snacks, but if you are eating boxed mac and cheese and hamburger helper every day, a surprise sweet would be reason to celebrate. For most families, the food shelf offers a temporary crutch to get them through the month. But we were told that there are some families who depend on the food shelf to get them through the year. It made me want to donate on a more regular basis. I also want to donate foods that will fill the gaps that the food shelf needs, not just clearing out the cans of lima beans in the back of the cupboard.

When Sweet Pea and I returned home we told Lady Di all about the food shelf. Sweet Pea told her all of the things that the food shelf had, even car seats.

Lady Di asked, "Were the donated car seats used? I didn't think used car seats could be accepted."

I explained that they came from clearance stock from a store.

Lady Di then said, "That makes sense. I didn't think they could give out used car seats."

Sweet Pea then stated quite seriously, "And for sure they can't give out used diapers."

I'm certainly grateful for that.


Russell said...

Interesting post and, yes, it is certainly good for children - as well as adults - to learn about food pantries (as we call them here) and other places that provide necessities for the poor.

For many years I was the director of a Legal Aid office here in Iowa. We provided free or low cost legal services for people going through divorce, bankrupty, setting guardianships, landlord-tenant problems, and so on.

It was the best legal work I ever did and was much more gratifying than the work I had done in the corporate world. Granted, it did not pay anything (!) but it was very fulfilling. You actually felt like you were really helping people.

There are many poor people who game the system, but the majority of people who benefit from entitlement programs and such volunteer organizations that provide food pantries, clothing centers, etc. are decent people who simply have no money, usually limited education, often are in poor health and a variety of problems.

Thanks for a good post and take care.

pixie said...

What a heartwarming story, with a great punchline by Sweet Pea! Clever girl!

Marla said...

What a great trip. I bet it was eye opening for your little ones. I hope you are able to donate more often....I bet that would be a great project for your kids. Thanks for sharing!

DJ Kirkby said...

Ah SP's commnet, how hilarious! That pic pf tomato soup reminded me of eating tom soup and grilled cheese sandwiches in the winter as a child, yum! Not a popular treat over here in England sadly and I am not able to con our boys into loving it as much as I did.

Casdok said...

Arnt we all!
Sounds like a very valuble field trip.

creative-type dad said...

Good point she has there!

ALF said...

What a great experience for her. And good thinking on the used diapers!

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.