Food to Smile About

Leave canned or boxed food in your mailbox, Saturday, May 14th.
Leave canned or other packaged, non-perishable foods in your mailbox, Saturday, May 14th.

It was my noblesse oblige that brought me to the grocery store, and duty is never fun. The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) is holding its annual Food Drive this Saturday, May 14th.

Sigh. So I went to the supermarket to find some canned goods to leave in my mailbox. That’s when the conservative side of me began to grumble. “These poor people,” my inner voice whined, “have often made bad choices. They’ve gotten mixed up with drugs and alcohol. They’ve committed crimes. They’ve made stupid career decisions. And now, I’m supposed to feed them?”

The liberal side of me began clearing its throat to say something guilt-inducing in response. But I shushed both of these voices. There was something deeper and more distant stirring within. My own childhood.

I grew up poor. And it was mainly because my parents (and stepparents) made piss-poor decisions. I never went hungry, but some of the food I got was barely palatable. In those days, a food commodities program existed for helping the needy. My mother would sometimes take us down to a government food bank, where we would be rationed various packages of low-quality comestibles to haul home and figure out how to cook.

There were mystery meats in cans with white, generic labels. There were bags of sour tasting raisins. There were containers and containers of pinto beans, corn meal, and other assorted staples. All low-quality. Some laced with weevils. But it was mostly edible, and kept the meat on our bones.

It wasn’t my fault that I was poor. That was the doing of my foolish parents. And it’s the same today. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), 22% of all children in the United States today, live in poverty. That’s more than 16 million kids. And none of it is their fault.

No, it’s not their fault that they’re poor. Sometimes it’s not even their parents’ fault, though all too often it is. Regardless, these kids can’t help their circumstances.

When I focused my thoughts on the children who will benefit from the NALC’s Food Drive, my mood brightened. I liked the idea that children would be consuming some of the food I was buying. Now I was on a mission I could truly enjoy. I focused on foods that I liked when I was a kid, during the occasional times when we could afford better fare.

And it wasn’t very expensive. I loved refried beans when I was a kid. They don’t cost much. So I took some off the shelf. I also found some sweet creamed corn, and some sloppy joe sauce. And as I was leaving I spotted some Kraft maccaroni and cheese. One of my favorites, as a kid. So I grabbed a few boxes.

All-in-all, I only spent about 13 bucks. I wish I could do more. I wish I could feed all the poor kids in this world. But we have to be practical about these matters. (That’s my conservative voice coming out again.)

We all have our own charities, so I won’t ask you to do what I did. But if
you’re looking for a way to put a smile on your face, I recommend it. Get down to the grocery store and think about children while shopping for food. Leave it in your mailbox this Saturday.

You’ll be smiling all the way home. šŸ™‚

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19 thoughts on “Food to Smile About

    1. It’s a once a year ritual, every 2nd Saturday of May. Usually your letter carrier will leave a little flyer in the mailbox a few days before, but not always. And sometimes local postmasters discourage the food drive, because it takes time for letter carriers to pick up the food. And time is money. So in those cases, flyers are not delivered. But I think it’s a pretty good cause. And thanks for the reblog!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. So…I read your first line and thought, “Crappity Dap. I forgot!!” I hurried to the pantry grabbed a bunch of canned goods and pastas and stuffed them in the mailbox. Then I came back to the computer and read the rest of your post.

    Saturday??? Crappity Dap again. I’m a day early.

    Back out to the mailbox to retrieve the food. Note to self: Put cans out TOMORROW.

    I could’ve sworn the collection was on Friday, so I looked it up (because I like confirmation about being totally wrong). Yep. it says to Call your local P.O. to confirm.

    So I called. “Now what is it? Say that again?” said the PO employee who answered the phone.

    “Stamp out Hunger.” I explained it to the employee. “A national food drive by postal workers?”

    “Nope. Nobody’s doing that here.”

    Oh. Okay.

    Note to self: SUNDAY Take the cans and pasta to church and put them in the food basket there.

    Crappity dap. I suppose it doesn’t make any difference. The food will go to fill a hungry tummy. But for some reason, I got a big kick out of stuffing the mail box with a bag of food, There was something sooooo grassroots about the movement. Too bad the Post office in my area doesn’t feel the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Crappity Dap, indeed. Sadly, some postmasters are so worried that their productivity numbers will look bad, they don’t participate in the food drive. It’s the result of mean-spirited management from the top down (I’m retired from the PO, so I’ve seen this for myself). I’m sure your church will have a different attitude, so one way or the other, the food will get to the right mouths. Thanks for trying. šŸ™‚

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  2. I have not heard a thing about this down here in South Florida. Since it’s now May 15th it is probably too late to participate. I love the conservative vs. liberal voice part. I go through so much of that. Nine times out of ten my liberal voice wins out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every post office has its own level of participation. Some postmasters worry their heads off over making their productivity numbers, so they don’t promote the event at all.

      I think my liberal voice wins out most of the time, also, in the internal debates. The conservative can be just a little too hardass and boring for me to feel comfortable with. Except now and then when the brakes have to be applied firmly to keep things under control.

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        1. Rats, that’s terrible. They’ve been trying with some success to implement the same kind of centralized delivery here in the states. So far there’s been enough pushback to keep it from becoming the norm everywhere.

          Liked by 1 person

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