A Place at the Table: Day 22

Thursday – I’m in a groove this week. It’s just now hit me that it’ll be time to go shopping in a day or two, yet I still have bread to last me through this coming Tuesday, and chickpeas and rice to last at least that long. By cutting out my afternoon cup of joe, I have even managed to make the coffee I bought week before last stretch, too. However, I am a little nervous because I will be running out of everything  next week. Unlike last week’s rice and chickpeas, nothing from this week will carry me all the way  through next week,  which means that I may have to make some tough choices about what to buy with the week’s allowance. It will all depend on what’s on sale, and if I might be able to get some coupons together.

My thoughts about what may or may not happen next week take me back to the A Place at the Table documentary.  The people who are the subject of the film have thoughts filled with much greater and perplexing levels of anxiety week in and week out, if not day in and day out.  Barbie, who lives in Philadelphia, was on food stamps for awhile.  At one point in the film she comments that the food stamps last about three weeks out of a typical month, and then in that last week she goes crazy.  Yet, based on most of governmental and societal definitions of hunger, she wouldn’t fit our picture of a “hungry” person.

I am far from going crazy.  Again, for me this is a fast.  If I should get in a pickle, all I have to do is hold out until dinner.  But for some 50 million Americans, this isn’t a fast – it’s life.  One of the most gut-wrenching observations she makes in the film is that some nights she has to send her kids to bed hungry (without dinner) “as if they did something wrong.”

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Amen.

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