Hungry People Are Hungry...All Year
Salute to all the people and organizations that are hosting turkey drives, coat drives, blanket drives, and other events for the purpose of helping our less fortunate people. This is the "season" of giving, and I'm sure the recipients are enthused for the donations.
In 2011, I was homeless, hungry, and without sanitary products or clean panties from July to October. There were no food drives. I didn't see any posters advertising giveaways of sanitary products. There were definitely food pantries with non-perishable food items, shelves of things that people were more than happy to get rid of: cans of Spam, pancake mix that was 2 weeks away from being expired, canned cranberry sauce, cream of mushroom, boxes of cornbread mix. I could go on. Now I was in no position to be picky; I was hungry, so whatever I could get, I graciously (and embarrassingly) took. The problem was, I was living in a hotel. What was I going to do with cornbread mix? I didn't have eggs, milk....a stove.
I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in that motel.
Washing my clothes at a laundromat was a luxury I could seldom afford. It required the gas to get there, money to buy detergent, and money to put in the machines. Most of the time, my clothes, including socks and panties, were washed in the bathroom sink with dish washing liquid.
I always considered myself fortunate, because I at least had a car to sleep in when I couldn't afford the motel. I could usually afford the motel each week. I was working in radio and knew eventually I would get out of my situation. Those thoughts especially helped me one Wednesday when all I had to eat was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and I ran out of bread. Payday wasn't for two more days, so I had to spread out my sandwiches. In other words, it was a very hungry, depressing two days.
But then I moved into my apartment October 10, 2011. Finally, I had a refrigerator to store food, a stove to cook on, a bed to sleep on. Security. I used that box of Jiffy from the pantry the second day in the apartment.
Usually in radio, the part-time personalities work on the holidays. But our boss allowed everyone to be off air. I decided to make my hours by going to the Salvation Army and filming their annual Thanksgiving event, where they provided dinner and donated clothing items to whomever needed it, as well as board games and basketballs for kids to play with. I felt fortunate that I was there with my camera, simply to document the activities, because I no longer needed the assistance. But in the back of my mind was that Wednesday when all I had was peanut butter, jelly and a few slices of bread to last me two days. Where was the annual "feed the needy" event in July? August? September?
Hungry people are hungry.....all year.
Don't worry; come 2019, I'm doing something about it. Stay tuned.