That’s All for Now…but it’s not the End
As soon as I finish this leftover squash and (yes) disaster-averted black bean tomato cornbread with salsa, the SNAP to it Food Stamp Challenge is history. Thanks again to Katy Wolk-Stanley (The Non-Consumer Advocate) for issuing the challenge.
During these 30 days I have spent a lot of time thinking about food, about hunger, about the causes of poverty, and about privilege. I am among the privileged, even though my present financial situation is best described as precarious. I am fortunate, and I have a network of family, friends, and faith community that are willing to lift me up in time of trouble and stand by me come what may. I am not alone. Five years after an experience with breast cancer my health is good. I have a combination of employment that allows me to live out my three passions: ministry, writing, and teaching.
Even though I have participated in this challenge, I do not know the kind of gnawing hunger that can’t be satiated. I do not stare into an empty pantry and wonder how I will feed my children. If my daughter is hungry, it is only because she’d rather have the processed junk food that isn’t in our house any more. I have skills, education, and hope–and leftovers.
You see, even having leftovers is a gift. I will NEVER look at leftovers the same again. So what have I learned? Many things I already knew, but the challenge served to remind and reinforce those things: while I may focus on buying local whenever possible, being conscious of the carbon footprint of the food I choose, and picking whole foods over highly processed ones, many others are simply struggling to put enough of any kind of food on their table. Hunger is real, but the root causes are complicated. Because the issue is complicated, it is easy to push it aside. Life is busy, right? What any one person can do is limited, right? Didn’t Jesus say something about always having the poor with us?
Is that what you really believe? Or does that make it easier to deal with not dealing with the tough questions, with the pain and suffering that is part and parcel of this world? I can’t answer these questions for you any more than you can answer them for me.
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
State of the Pantry
Well, suffice it to say that there is about as much in the refrigerator and pantry as there was when I started 30 days ago. There is not as much variety (no milk, cheese, or meat other than tuna fish), but there is food, and for that I am thankful. We made our goal with a little over $7 to spare.
Website of the Day
I invite you to go back to The Non-Consumer Advocate and check out some of the stories of other participants in The Challenge. There are some truly interesting stories and good perspectives. Thanks to all who contributed to the effort by participating!