NaBloWriMo day 19.
I thought we would have time to think up some clever new way for Kaweah to randomly select the winners of the Macy’s $25 gift cards (two of them), but we didn’t have much time. Last night, after our guests went home, Jeremy placed a treat in the Kong and timed in tenths of a second how long it took Kaweah to retrieve the treat… twice. Then he took the two numbers, modulo 108, and our winners are:
#33: Erin who listed The Women’s Bean Project in Denver.
#100: Sophia W who listed Glide Memorial Church.
Congratulations, ladies! Please email me with your mailing addresses and Macy’s will be shipping your gift card right away! Thank you to everyone who entered and listed a favorite charity. It was great to read about your connections, your discoveries, but most of all, your compassion. xxoo
I said in my introductory post for Eat on $30 that my biggest challenges were the planning and the price comparison. This was in part, because I insisted on keeping our menu as close to normal as possible. I wanted fresh fruits and vegetables. I wanted meat. I had to forgo organics, sweets, snacks, beverages. My only gimmes were salt, pepper, and oil. There was no prorating of anything. It’s supposed to be a challenge. Even if I had a garden (gardening at 8500 ft can be a challenge in and of itself, m’kay?) I don’t think I would have allowed myself to run out and pluck from it. The start of the week was fine and then mid week I began to crave sweets in the evenings. It was probably because we were eating just enough for our meals, but not enough to feel satisfied. I’m sure I was also feeling the absence of a few hundred calories of my daily glasses of juice not to mention all of the snacks we take for granted.
elation and dread
By the end of the week when I was shopping for our big dinner party on Sunday, I felt a sudden lifting of a vague cloud from my brow. I didn’t have to EAT anything, just the act of shopping cheered me up. I am a foodie (and I really don’t care if you hate that word) and I like to shop for food and prepare food and cook food. I think about food ALL OF THE TIME. It was wonderful to be able to spend the extra $.50 on the flat-leaf parsley at Whole Foods rather than on the wilted equivalent at Safeway. And I didn’t have to worry about it sending me over my budget! I think those limitations from the Eat on $30 week wore me down – the constant stress over money. It was… demoralizing. And it was just a measly week with an end in sight. I cannot imagine how it would feel to deal with that stress as a constant in my life. Well, actually I can imagine it a little bit. It feels like a nagging dread. Chemo was like that – the nagging dread. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Even chemo had an end.
more than $30
We as a group made far too many assumptions. $30 per person for the week. It was an issue of time, resources, transportation, skills, knowledge, equipment. I had assumed people had refrigerators and stoves, but this isn’t true for everyone. Far too often we tend to think of hunger as a monetary issue, but it is so much more than that. If it were just an issue of money, I think the solution would be far easier to target. If you live in an insular world and you only see the life you lead, it’s not unlikely that you believe everyone else lives the way you do. I am guilty of it, to be sure. That’s why we did this seemingly silly little exercise – because in the end, it wasn’t so silly and it made us recognize the obstacles that many people face.
it’s not about you
I loved the discussion from my readers and I hope that we all learned from one another, that we got around to thinking about the problem of hunger rather than just reacting to it. One thing I noticed about some commenters, even those who had the best of intentions – much of the discussion was based on their experiences which is totally understandable. What we must recognize is that hunger and poverty in this country, in this world IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Not to sound callous, but it just isn’t. Some people like to think that if they can somehow muster along for under $30 then everyone else can too. That’s like Jeremy telling the rest of you if he can do astrophysics, it should be easy for you. Yeah, right (thankfully, he’s not one of those jerkwad scientists). Get the point?
community and indifference
Some people mentioned eating as a community and while I like that idea very much, when I think of community I think of it as a community beyond the table where we eat. We need to tackle the root(s) of the problem as a community. To do that, we first need to identify what the causes are. Of course, donating money and time and food just to feed people doesn’t solve hunger, it merely placates the problem temporarily. To solve the problem, we need to get at the root of many social, economic, cultural, educational, and political issues. That doesn’t mean you stop addressing hunger. Hunger is an immediate problem and it requires immediate attention. We need to work on both. However, I cannot for the life of me tolerate people who believe that hungry people are at fault for being hungry. That is just insensitive, uninformed, and intentionally ignorant. Awareness is key, because second to those who actively despise the poor (again, I cannot get my brain around that one), indifference is the next greatest disservice. While we certainly hope no one would be guilty of the former, let us definitely avoid being guilty of the latter.
Since I wasn’t able to fly to Atlanta to attend Tami’s lovely celebration dinner on Sunday, I hosted my own dinner with friends of mine. Inspired by Tami’s request that guests make a donation for a local charity, we did the same. As a group, our guests discussed different local charities to donate our collection to and finally decided on Erin’s favorite: The Women’s Bean Project in Denver. This appealed to us the most because it enables women by giving them job-training, skills, a way to become self-reliant, empowerment, confidence.