Saturday, November 19, 2005

The need season

I ran into a neighbor in the grocery yesterday. She asked, "Thanksgiving shopping?" and commented about how it was better to get this all out of the way this week because the stores are packed next week. I agreed; yes, I was shopping for Thanksgiving, but not for me. I met her in the canned veggies isle. I was stocking up for donations.

This year, it's even more important. We're experiencing "donation fatigue" after two hurricanes, a tsunami and an earthquake all in one year. Our local food banks are feeling the pinch, which means our neighbors are in need.

Now, we all know times are tough. Gas and oil prices shot way up this year, and pay raises were a lot harder to come by. But somehow, my "tough times" rarely include making a decision of whether to feed my kids or pay the electric bill, which means it ain't so tough for me after all. If I can afford high-speed internet to sit here and talk to you nice people, I can certainly afford to buy extra cans of food and some more books for the church and school holiday drives. There are kids whose parents do have to make that decision, and they need a bit of help.

It's also good for my kids to help us do this. I ask them to carry the bags in, put them in the donation boxes, help pick out food in the store. I want them to grow up knowing that helping others is a natural part of life. So, the food banks get cans of soup and I get a nice little parenting moment out of it. We're both winners there.

New Jersey is the best state in the Union. By far. We are one of the richest, most educated groups of people ever assembled. We should also be one of the most generous.

So, I've got a couple of bags of stuff in the car to take to church tomorrow. I'm realizing that I need to buy a couple more. Or, more accurately, that someone else needs me to.

"It's the difference between thinking of oneself as an accumulator of objects and material wealth, and imagining oneself as part of the fabric of problems and solutions." - Tata from Poor Impulse Control.


Brenda said...

Thank you for doing that. I'm sure the people who need it greatly appreciate it but they never get to say thank you directly. Let me say thanks to you for taking the time to give and to trying to raise awareness so that others might also rise to the occasion and help their neighbors.

I'm going to organize a food drive at the office. Not sure for what organization at the moment but it doesn't really matter as long as it helps someone.

Jeri said...

Thanks for the reminder, Sharon. The Maryland Food Bank has a "Virtual Food Drive" on their web site, allowing visitors to choose items of food to donate, well, virtually. (I'm assuming the food itself isn't virtual.) I'm sure other food banks have a similar setup. This way people who don't live near a collection station or don't have time to get the food there can still make a difference.

Sharon GR said...

I'm glad you're organizing a drive, Brenda. Most people want to help out in a broad way but need a specific reminder to do so. If our church didn't have a Thanksgiving ingathering to remind me, I probably wouldn't have done much at all either.

I love the virtual food drive. I bet they get a lot from it!

Tata said...

Thank you, Sharon. You're a first rate human being and an excellent mommy - the importance of both things being inestimable.