given when i came here to post, i've found the discussions about food and classism over the last day or 2 to be pretty interesting. so, here's what i came here to say...
we are poor. not broke, poor. 8-people-and-1-$9.40-an-hour-customer-service-job poor. forgive me for hammering that point in, but i want to be clear. my boyfriend's brother's disability check not coming in has made this month more complicated and interesting than i'd like (driving with no car insurance? sure! i love gambling! not.) so, we had to go to the food pantry on Tuesday, because we have literally no money, and i was starting to wonder what i was going to feed everyone for the next 2 weeks. (we do get food stamps, but it's not really enough for everyone for the whole month, even though i'm pretty careful.)
we got to the pantry late, so they were closing before we were quite done "shopping" (you get a checklist of how many of each option [protein, veg, fruit, pasta, etc.] you can take based on the size of your family and you can choose from whatever's on that particular shelf.) the lady said that there was bread and fresh fruits and veggies in the back, and to take whatever we could use, just hurry up. i went in back, and i nearly passed out from shock. there were STACKS of stuff. i asked the lady if she was serious about taking whatever i could use, and she said to go nuts.
so i did. you guys, i got a flat of strawberries (6 quarts), a flat of blueberries (12 pints), 5 pounds of bananas, 3 pounds of cherries, 2 pounds of grapes, 3 green peppers and a cantaloupe! we also got like, 6 bags of bread. (i felt a little weird taking all that, but they were closing and we were the last people and she okay'd it before i left, so...) i have basically been in the kitchen since i got home from the pantry, sorting, cooking, canning, freezing and baking.
as i'm standing at the sink for hours, sorting the berries (a lot were bruised and/or moldy), i was thinking about how grateful i am that i can use this stuff, that i know how to preserve a lot of it for later, and that i have the time to do all this. i'm also incredibly grateful to whichever local store manager made the decision to donate instead of throw away. i had been dreading the complaints from the kids about "plain rice, again?!?" and suddenly, a huge bounty dropped in my lap. i feel like the luckiest person alive.
i live in government-subsidized housing, so my neighbours are all just as poor as i am. i told all my friends here that if they hadn't gone yet, to go and get stuff and i'd help them put it up. i like to pass on the luck, y'know?