We had a wonderfully fun and busy weekend with friends and family but that isn’t what I want to talk about today. I want to share something I was thinking about while grocery shopping. We got back from visiting friends last night around 5:15. I already had our menu planned and my list ready so I got out of one vehicle and hopped in the other to head to the grocery store.
I usually shop at Market Basket with a stop at Hannaford for the deli and maybe a couple specialty items. With all the hubbub around Market Basket right now I just went to Hannaford.
It was a zoo. Super crowded. I elected to pay an extra dollar for the pre-cut package of salami rather than join the crowd waiting at the deli. Our menu this week includes 2 spaghetti squash dishes and they were out of spaghetti squash. (I found some later at Shaw’s) I had to get a different type of Italian sausage than what I usually get. There were no half gallons of 1% milk. There were empty bins, especially in the produce and meat departments.
Suddenly I was struck. I almost started to tear up right there in the long checkout line.
We are so blessed. So fortunate. One of about five grocery stores (seven if you count Walmart and Target) in our community is temporarily unavailable. This is the extent of our issues with access to a variety of food. This is the extent of my struggles with feeding my family.
Think about that.
Yes, there are weeks when I really have to keep a tight grocery budget. I have to tell HH and Girlie that an expensive request just can’t be on the menu this week. There’s more taco salads than spaghetti squash. There’s just enough lunchbox snacks for lunchboxes. I bake dessert from scratch rather than buy ice cream. But in the grand scheme of things? According to the Feeding America website, “In 2012, 49.0 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children.”
We are so blessed.
I don’t have to make do with whatever the local food pantry has this week. I don’t have to take my Girlie to community meals. I don’t have to choose between buying overpriced processed food at a convenience store or taking multiple buses or trains to get to an actual supermarket. My cupboards are full of herbs and spices and flours and sugars. My grocery stores don’t usually have empty bins.
I am so blessed.
I live in a part of the country where the CEO of a grocery store chain insisted on having low prices and high wages and offered 4% off all groceries for a year and was fired. I live in a time and place where his employees are standing up for him, risking their livelihoods. I am able to support them because I have 6 other options for grocery shopping in my community.
I am so blessed.
If you’re reading this blog then there’s pretty good odds that you’re also blessed with food abundance. At least right now. Did you notice the title of this post? We Are So Blessed: A Challenge. Are you ready for the challenge?
First off, I’d love to hear how you are blessed with food abundance. Either in the comments, an email (email@example.com), via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram share that you thought about this. Use the hashtag #sharethe4 (more about that in a minute) and/or tag @goodngoodforya. I can’t wait.
And here’s the real challenge: if and when Market Basket operations resume and the 4% savings offer returns I am going to donate that 4% of my grocery bill (it’s listed right on the receipt) to a program fighting hunger here in my community. If the program does not resume I am still going to do some quick math with my receipt and donate that 4%.
I challenge you to do the same. Donate 4% of your grocery bill to a program fighting hunger. You can pick the program. It can be local or national or international. It really won’t seem like much. Our family usually spends around $100-$125 per week on groceries meaning I’ll be donating around $4 or $5 per week. Which hardly seems worth it. Except:
Did you know that, in New Hampshire, the average working poor family food benefit is $4 per day? The program Feeding America reports that it can provide 9 meals with a $1 donation. The Greater Boston Food Bank’s site reports that it can provide 150 meals with a $50 donation. That means my $5 donation could provide 15 meals! It generally won’t really make that much difference to my budget. The weeks when it does feel hard will be a good reminder of why I’m doing this.
I am so blessed.
Here are a few websites of agencies fighting hunger in America which allow for online donations. There are so many more out there.
New Hampshire Food Bank
Share Our Strength
End 68 Hours of Hunger
Greater Boston Food Bank
Good Shepherd Food Bank
Meals on Wheels