26 October 2010

Cannot wear that on your sleeve

In the aftermath of yesterday's frustration, stemming from things that seem so petty and ridiculous to me (and yes, I know the idea is to curb the excess of some individuals, but I tend to operate from a place of common sense where these things are concerned and am so tired of being rule-bound because of a few lunatics), I went to shop for items for holiday meals for the less fortunate.

Each year, we support various charities that provide food to the hungry, and at the holidays, we make a special effort to help with making up food boxes for a celebratory meal. When I was a child and times were difficult, friends made such things possible for us. I don't mind being an invisible friend to someone else while I have the means to do so.

The boxes come with specific instructions: we fill them with cans of vegetables and fruit, boxes of rice and potatoes and stuffing mix, fruit juice, beans, and other items. Even as I purchase the items on the list, I fantasize about tucking something extra in: a loaf of homemade bread, a bag of homemade cookies, though I know this would never be allowed.

I try to remind myself that it's enough to help feed others, but it never feels like enough. Oh, I know I'm providing a meal for 6-8 people with each box that I fill, but I'm distressed by what I perceive as the poor quality of the food: white rice, instant mashed potatoes, canned foods high in sodium and sugar, and I launch into another fantasy about teaching people transitioning out of a shelter or motel how to cook proper nutritious and easy meals that are also inexpensive. It's one thing I learned long ago, how to squeeze a penny until it screams.

But how can I make my $2 meal that you cook yourself compete with the 99 cent burrito sitting under the heat lamp at the local drive-through?

I'm weird, I know, fuming over the handling of school parties, ready to throw their rulebook out the window, and then fretting about the possibility that I'm contributing to a disadvantaged person's heart disease or diabetes by following the rules and buying them processed foods I'd never eat myself.

There must be a better way. But I sure haven't figured it out yet, though I like this idea.

Go listen to some good music: "Pretty Persuasion" from the album Reckoning by REM.

No comments: