This is a great post by my Twitter friend @BizyMare. Mare is a mom and wife living in the ‘burbs of Milwaukee. Mare left Wisconsin to join the Air Force as an officer. Then she went from flight suits and boots to sequins and high heels as a casino manager on the strip in Las Vegas. She came back to the Dairy State after 9/11 for her husband’s job and to raise her three girls. Now she tweets, does volunteer work and chases kids. And drinks beer. On more than one occasion she has seen that I was feeling down and reached out with a kind word to help me up. Thankfully we have people like Mare that go out of their way to help others.
I thought about changing the order of my guest posts so that a story of overstuffed memories wasn’t right before this post. After thinking about it I think that is the perfect order for these stories. I had a hard time finding the right pictures to share with this post. When you do a google image search on the word hunger you get photos of famine starved babies, homeless men lined up at a soup line and well fed college kids putting on hunger strikes in protest. You don’t find pictures of your neighbors making do with not enough. So instead of including a generic photo I am asking you to take a moment when you are done reading this to make a photo in your mind of someone you can help.
I think about food quite a few times a day. What am I going to make for breakfast/lunch/dinner? Oooh, that recipe looks good. What do I have to get from the store? Did the kids feed the dogs? Is the bird feeder low? Then the ultimate. I am hungry.
Hunger has a new meaning in our home this year. We know there are hungry people in the world. We know there are hungry people in our country. We know there are hungry people in our town. But this year is different. We know hungry people.
We know a family who has fallen on some difficult times. I knew they were struggling. What I didn’t know is how close to the edge they really are. My oldest daughter was waiting to be picked up for school and blurted out “Jane* said they only have cheese and crackers left in the house.”
It was like an electric shock through my heart. This is a family of four, two teens, one tween and a mom. My daughter sees Jane 20 hours a week at practice. They don’t have food? FOOD?
Out of sheer frustration I tweeted “Just found out a gymnastics teammate of #1 has no food in her house. Single parent, 3 kids. Going to get a gift card today.” It must’ve hit a chord with others because I had $250 in cash in a matter of minutes. That was spent on a gift card and was sent to practice that night.
Although the family was (and is) very, very grateful and since then some other very generous people have donated to them, I’ve been preoccupied with this whole issue of hunger. How do we know if our neighbors or friends are hungry? I’m sure many who are are embarrassed to admit it, especially if it’s a new situation for them.
This year is different for us. If I had stopped and thought about it, I may not have done anything. I would’ve over thought it and wondered if I was embarrassing or angering the family. Wondered if my daughter was exaggerating. But because I didn’t, a family got some help in the short term. I also was reminded how many kind, sweet and generous people I have in my circle of friends and acquaintances who helped and are continuing to help hungry people they don’t even know.
The thought of my kids going hungry is terrifying. It also makes me pause and realize, really deep down realize, how very lucky and spoiled we are. So take a look around you. It really could be a neighbor or an acquaintance who isn’t so lucky. When you’re thinking about pizza or grilling a steak, think about who you know might be hungry. Perhaps there is something you can do. It might be a gift card. It might be a bag of groceries. Maybe a pan of lasagna or whatever your specialty is. It doesn’t have to be a lot. But it’s something.
Food truly does bring people together. For that, I am truly thankful.
Thank you Mare for writing this. For caring enough to not think yourself out of helping. Thank you to everyone who donated a little cash to help a mom out just because of a tweet you saw on the internet. From this story to the experiences I have had with the Hay Drive I am certain that there are angels among us.
Be on the lookout for a second post by Mare later on. She had two wonderful ideas so she wrote them both down!