Folks, my neighbors have made it to Day 3 of the #HungerChallenge. They've definitely faced some dilemmas and made some tough choices. Remember that for each day they complete the Challenge, I'm donating to the SF-Marin Food Bank, up to $10K.
For this 3rd update, Teri said:
John, my husband, was staring at the four peaches, still ripening, on the counter. I thought he was debating whether to cut into one even though it’s probably still not quite ready. I suggest the strawberries, which are deteriorating quickly — as strawberries do — with each passing fruit-rationed day.* But actually, he’s having an insight: the parents’ dilemma. He wants to eat a peach, but he holds back because he knows that we don’t have much fruit and wants to make sure the kids have what they need first. He does the math and forgoes the peach. John thinks about how many times a day this quick but critical calculation happens in the minds of parents who are trying to feed their families with very limited resources. It’s tiring, and brutal, to ask who can go without.
As is our custom, we did Taco Tuesday for dinner yesterday (see photo above). This dinner resembles most closely what we normally eat – with a couple of exceptions. First, no avocado. Way too expensive, and too risky – no way I’m spending $2 on something that might be mealy, brown, hard, or some combination, when I slice into it! My California girls love avocados. Also, because I could only afford one kind of olives we put Kalamata olives on the tacos, which was a little strange, but passable. One added dimension is that at the last minute a fellow mom called and asked us for some help watching her daughter because she had to stay late at work and her dad is out of town, so we had an extra child to feed for dinner. But that seemed like a typical situation to deal with – kids have friends, and parents often need help from each other. So she ate and my leftovers for lunch became a little smaller. I made more rice!
Finally, a note about convenience: I made the choice at the store to buy canned beans. While I certainly could have afforded more beans if I bought dry and cooked them myself, people with limited incomes don’t have any more time than I do to prepare meals. Sometimes I read opinion pieces or online comments that say things like, “It’s easy to eat like a king on $1.50 a day, if you just…” and then it goes on to say something about making everything from scratch and free community garden plots and asking the butcher for scraps. OK, sure, that might be possible IF you have nothing else to do. But that’s not my life, and it’s not the life of any family I’m aware of. Between jobs and school and sports and homework, convenience matters.
Today my older daughter brought even more food for lunch (see picture). She’s getting the hang of this (pack more rice), and despite her grousing – or maybe because of it – she’s spent some time thinking about how hard it is for kids who are just like her in every way — except they don’t have enough to eat.
*This is itself a Hunger Challenge realization: timing is everything. To avoid going over budget, we shopped once, leaving only a few dollars to supplement later in the week. We also got our simulated Food Bank pantry food on the same day. We were able to make a plan and purchase foods that complemented the items from the food pantry so that we could eat pretty balanced meals every day. But even with that advantage, we may end up with some pretty random concoctions at the end of the week – onions and white rice, anyone?
Folks, please check back in throughout the week to see how they’re doing and to cheer 'em on. And, maybe do one better and join Roxy and Natalie's family to show your support for the people in our community who struggle to get enough to eat.