In my lifetime, I have on more than one occasion been the recipient of a holiday "food basket". You know the kind...the ones that are given to poor, down on their luck families so that they can have a good holiday.
We are now into the season where people start thinking about sharing some of their bounty with their neighbors so I thought I would talk about what it's like on the receiving end.
Truthfully? It's not all that great. Oh, I know that I should be grateful for the total strangers that sacrifice part of their hard earned money or goods to send some canned goods to school or church for the food drive. Somewhere within me a small voice tells me to be quiet and say, "Thank you!"
But I don't think I'm going to listen to that voice.
I'm going to tell you what it's like to receive six cans of vegetables, none of them the same, three past their expiration dates. One can is beets. Another is squash. And a third is lima beans. One of the cans is so dented the can opener won't work on it. And one can is a mystery because the label's missing.
Then there's the small box of cornbread with weevils in it. Uh-hmmm. Two boxes of pudding--one instant, one cooked. Three packages of crushed cookies because they were packed on the bottom. Six eggs, two of them cracked. Powdered milk. A can of pumpkin with none of the ingredients to make the pie. A bag of fruit, most of it too rotten to use...
Ah, but the poor should be grateful that the "haves" thought about them. Why?
My friends, let me ask you something. If you don't want to eat what's in those cans why would you think someone else would? If that cornbread mix has been in your pantry so long that bugs have taken up residence, then throw it away instead of sending it to my house so I have to put it in my trash.
Let me tell you how my husband and I deal with the food basket issue. We decide how much we can do without. Then we go shopping.
Four families? Then we provide four complete meals. Turkey breast or ham, dressing, instant mashed potatoes, two vegetables, cake mix, frosting, packaged rolls, canned milk, spices, paper towels, trash bags, zippered storage bags, aluminum foil, and disposable aluminum pans. If it was an especially good year, we add a small plant for a centerpiece. If it's a Christmas basket, we try to add an ornament for each family member. Depending on the circumstances, there might be a gift for each of the kids.
Everything goes in a box and is delivered personally. There is nothing more humiliating than to show up at the school or church to pick up a holiday food basket. Oh, you go because you won't let your children do without for the sake of your pride. But it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It doesn't matter why you need the food. It could be the best reason in the world, but there is still that sense of failure when you have to admit that you can't feed yourself.
Personal delivery takes some of that feeling away because it's a gift, one-on-one with a face and a name. If you know the identity of that person, you know who to thank. And when you know exactly who to thank, you do that--in writing.
Next year when things are better, you find someone to help out. That's what it should be, folks. Person to person, family to family offering a helping hand because one way or another, we're all going to need it some day. Sharing your blessings is the best way to thank the Creator for what you have. Give with joy, generosity, and cheerfulness.
Ooooh, Kelly has the Saga today. Need I say more? Of course, not. Go at once to www.kkirch.blogspot.com and then immediately jump over to Amarinda's blog where she is dispensing Australian wisdom at www.amarindajones.blogspot.com Blessings on your day!