My job is collecting food donations for the holidays.
I was going through my pantry to see if we had anything that we really dont need or use or had too much of and was astonished. I felt so greedy. Here there are, families EVERY DAY, needing assistance to feed themselves and their children, and we have a surplus of things and still complain that there's nothing to eat or go out to eat when we have perfectly good food at home.
I found 16 items (4 containers of baby food, a box of rice cereal, 4 boxes of mac n cheese, 6 cans of soup, and a can of black beans) that we have brushed by in search of something "better" to eat.
What really struck me is that I remember growing up being poor. There are theories I don't want to go into as to why I grew up that way. I remember sharing a can of soup between 2 or 3 of us with tuna sandwiches for dinner, countless nights of mac n cheese.... and here I am, pretty greedy, hoarding food in my house when there are others going without.
I remember some of our Christmas gifts coming from the donation bin at church. I remember being a little jerk and opening presents and being disappointed I didn't get what I wanted or only got 10 things... what a little jerk.
I think that's why I hate the holidays so much. There is this constant "have to" that is placed on the head of everybody. You "have to" spend X amount of dollars and buy X amount of gifts.
A guy I work with said that he wants to bring his daughter up in their family tradition of donating to Toys for Tots. That inspired me.
I don't want Audrey to be a brat or a little jerk. I don't want her to be ungrateful or spoiled.
So, it's been decided that we are going to make it a family habit to donate and give to others for Christmas. When Audrey's old enough, I want us all to volunteer at a soup kitchen together. I want her to realize that though we live a LOT more humbly than everyone we know (I'm not trying to sound braggy... we really are just very plain people... nothing matches in our house!), we have it a lot better than most.
I really encourage everyone to see how much they have and can do without and donate to others this holiday. It really is unfair how selfish we are and don't even realize it.
What really hit the chord in me was reading a page from a food bank in Los Angeles that said many infants and toddlers go without adequate nutrition. That broke my heart. I have a daughter and my biggest fear is not being able to provide food for her. Thankfully we are able to, but what about those parents that can't. How sad and awful they must feel.
So, here's a page where you can find local food banks in your area to donate.
This is the "season of giving" as those commercials with people buying tons of expensive crap so frankly puts it.... so, let's give.