Saturday Junior and I took a quick trip to the grocery store to get our basic stuff, not specifically for turkey day supplies because (and here is what I am thankful for) my mom “does” Thanksgiving dinner. We will make brownies and green bean casserole and a rice dish, but that is nothing compared to the pies and the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, etc. that she does. Thank you mom! So while in the store, I told him we needed to buy items to bring to the food pantry for the people who cannot afford to go shopping for a Thanksgiving meal. We filled a section of the cart with items – boxes of stuffing stuffing, jars of gravy, cranberry sauce, cooking oil, veggies, broth and something else I know I’m forgetting. I didn’t even bother counting up how much was there.
When we got home, we pulled all those items out and put them in a large shopping bag – you know, the kind you get from Macy’s with the handles? I was afraid the handles were going to break. Then we drove the bag over to Ginny’s on Mechanic Street in Leominster. Ginny White is a Saint, I tell you, and Ginny’s Food Pantry (and the thrift shop) are my charity of choice, especially because it goes right back into my own community. She was more than happy to take our bag of supplies (and $20 cash I gave her to go toward turkey or whatever they were short on). She told me that they were handing out the food baskets, which were actually cardboard boxes, some of which already lined one wall, Sunday and Monday. So hopefully our donation helped out. And we will do it again in a couple of weeks. I know that this is the time of year that people actually think about donating, which is great, but hunger happens 365 days a year, so my goal is that we will make this a once a month activity for the whole year. I also like to donate what I consider “staples” that are a little pricey, but necessary for cooking. I like to donate cooking oil, spices, mayonnaise, ketchup, things like that. I also like to donate toiletries, detergent, etc. which is SO expensive but SO necessary. As I said when I ran a toiletry drive at a company I used to work for – if I had to choose between razor blades and deodorant or a jar of peanut butter to feed my kids, the peanut butter would win. But without the razor blades and deodorant, it might be impossible for me to find work so that I can actually afford to keep my family fed. It’s a huge balancing act, and I like to help tip it in someone’s favor.
Anyway, this is just a public service announcement to remind everyone to keep an eye out for your own local food pantry this holiday season.