Today was a difficult day. It wasn’t easy going to the food bank to ask for my one week supply of food. From the minute I pulled into the parking lot I realized that the lives of the people using the Agape Centre must be met with such mixed emotions. First- it’s a blessing that we have the Agape centre in our city… what would we do without it? However, it’s so overwhelming to see the people who need the services.
I was very surprised to learn that the afternoon list of appointments for weekly food was full… so much that the workers had to squeeze in some extra people due to their personal demands and needs.
I was also a bit shocked that clients using the food bank have to go through such a rigorous screening process. I understand that the documentation provides proof of the living circumstances etc… but it can’t be easy for a family to constantly bring in identification for every family member, as well as all the other required documentation each and every time they access food.
Having our morning appointment was helpful and I liked the fact that the receptionist and the food bank coordinator were organized and competent with regard to the Do the Math Challenge team as well as the clients who really use and need the service. Thanks for the kind service!
The food basket is an assortment of dried, canned, and mostly packaged food. It really isn’t appetizing… I realize that I am very well with the groceries that I am able to afford. I missed fresh veggies today, as well as meat… wow! I was lucky enough to receive a pound of bacon and will have to get creative with recipe ideas. The word, CHALLENGE is definitely in my vocabulary for this week.
Signing off for now.
I’ve already experienced several interesting conversations – wish you could have seen the reaction of my husband and two teenagers when they saw the food from my hamper… the term “baffled “comes to mind. They suggested that I try to switch some of the canned goods in my hamper with brand named canned goods we have at home! Nice try. They are not quite grasping the importance of the challenge- yet!
Today I had a tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread that had “expired” a day before I picked it up from the food bank. I took it home, sliced it up and put it into the freezer. I will use a couple slices per day. I wrapped it into the waxed paper that I chose at the food bank to truly experience what it would be like to not be able to afford, plastic wrap or containers.
I also used the wax paper for my dried cereal snack. No fresh fruit or veggies in the hamper… I wonder what those no-name, waxed beans really taste like. I wonder if the expiry date is past. I wonder how many people go into their cupboards and give the Agape all those old cans of food…way in the back of the cupboard that never get used.
I’m going home to cook up some bacon and an egg… maybe two (I received 6). I can’t bring myself to open the canned waxed beans yet…
“Getting a taste of poverty makes me feel sick” JSM
My sister in Victoria (Yes the blog and the “Do the Math” challenge is being discussed in British Columbia) sent me the following recipe:
Cooking Hint for Beans >> green beans try frying then in a pan with a piece of bacon broken up into tiny pieces this will add flavor and grease then crush up some crackers and sprinkled over for extra salty flavour serve and enjoy.
I’m going to try this tomorrow.
Today my daughter “donated” an apple and my co-worker, a pear to my food hamper. The gesture actually struck me as something that does happen in our generous city on a regular basis… people are willing to help out other people (Does this count as cheating?).
The no-name macaroni and cheese mixed with a bit of bacon did not digest very well tonight.
I “get” the need for non-perishable, packaged food items but I am very quickly realizing that they lack nutrients, freshness and contain high fat content.
Did folks see the article in the Standard Freeholder (October 5, 2010) written by Dr. Richard Beliveau entitled: The importance of a veggie-rich diet. The quote that captured my attention, “To effectively prevent cancer, it is important not only to consume large quantities of vegetables, but to diversify your choices.”
So how does that make people feel who live on fixed incomes, food banks and non-perishable food?
Back to the canned wax beans and peas.
Over and out.
Many lessons have come out of this week’s “do the math” challenge:
The food bank is very much needed in our community and I have a refreshed outlook with regard to its purpose.
- Most prepackaged food (convenient) is not nutritious, tasty or healthy.
- People living on fixed incomes are very limited in their ability to choose healthy, fresh and affordable food.
- Too much starch leaves me feeling bloated, and ill. I cannot imagine eating this way in the long term.
- I am grateful for the community profile experience- I shared a heartfelt, lengthy discussion with regard to her life that is unforgettable.
- I look forward to meeting her for lunch next week – schedules match up best then.
- Friends and family are supportive in times of need. Thanks for the donated apples and recipes.
Canadians do go hungry. We need to support our local food banks and continue to advocate the government to put some extra dollars into the monthly budgets.
I am thankful for the experience.
May all of your Thanksgiving Dinners contain some fresh produce.
Warmest regards, Jody Souka-Marleau M.A.
“Light tomorrow with today” (E. Barrett-Browning)
Social Service Worker Program