Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Food Pantry

Two years ago my Girl Scout troop did a service project for the local food bank, and I fell in love with it.  I fell in love with the people who worked there, with their hearts, and with the way they run the place.  As a result, I tried to make a more conscious effort to donate to them, but it usually only happened around the holidays when the grocery stores are jam packed with food donation bins.  On a normal day in a normal life, buying extra groceries for people in need is the kind of thing that slipped my mind.  I think that's what happens with most of us, anyway.

A couple of months ago we were at a really low place (let's face it, every day is a really low place but some days are worse than others).  Cody suggested we do something for charity, some sort of service project, to help distract us from our own pain.  It's the kind of thing that is a very short-lived fix, but that's okay.  A little bit of service is better than no service.  We decided that from there on out, we would put aside $100 a month to buy food for the Food Pantry, and make a whole night of it.  This is the second month we have done it, and it has proven again to be oh so gratifying.

It's amazing what happens to your heart when you step out of your own world of misery, and think of someone else's world of misery.  The good feeling doesn't last terribly long, but these days we take any sort of relief we can get.  Last month, the first month we did it, we ended up having a pretty good time at the store.  The kids got very involved with picking out the food and using their math skills to estimate, round numbers, and add.  We taught them about getting the most bang for your buck, buying house brand verses name brand, etc.

I think we've decided to make a family night out of this activity on the third Tuesday of the month.  Tonight was a good night, and the kids were even more involved and as a side effect, more excited.  They did everything from pick out the food, put it in the carts, load it onto the belt at the check out, load it into the van...you get the idea.  At the check out we waited with bated breath to see what the total would be.  Last month we came in right at $87 and change.  Tonight we came in at $99.64!  We all cheered and Cody said that we should go on "The Price Is Right".

The Food Pantry has a giant scale that we load the items onto.  Tonight we decided to make it interesting and all the kids made bets on how much our lot would weigh.  Ethan guessed 150 pounds, and it was 148 pounds exactly.  We celebrated by going to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant in town.






 





As with every second of my life, I thought of Garrett the whole time tonight.  Although I tried to put my grief aside for a little while, he was never away from my thoughts.  I have this picture taped near the steering wheel of my van and he is always in my line of vision.  As we drove home this evening, I looked at his face and hoped that he was aware of what we were doing.  How we are trying to heal.  How everything we do is to make us stronger, more fortified, more aware of the Bigger Picture.  Garrett, I..... am at a loss for what I want to say to you.  Maybe you can look into my heart and find the words because they are there, but they can't make it past the lump in my throat.  I love you.  I love you so much I can feel the ache in every part of my bones.  I hope you are proud with us.  I hope you will continue to help us be strong.

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