There have been two times in my life when I’ve been the recipient of a food hamper. Both times, we were in dire financial situations and we needed the help. It’s not an easy thing to accept. I wanted more than anything not to need it. I wanted to be able to run to the grocery store and pick up what we required on our own dime. How did it make me feel? Pathetic, ashamed, depressed. Poverty sucks your energy like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.
This time of year, there is special attention paid to giving to those in need and supplying organizations that put together food hampers. My experience as a recipient makes me carefully consider what I drop into the food bank bin and I hope, after reading this, you will too.
Among some, there seems to be this “beggars can’t be choosers” or “they should be happy with whatever they get” attitude. Of course, people are happy to get food. We were thankful for everything we received and for the generous people who gave it. But, I’ve learned that we shouldn’t just toss whatever is cheap into the bin. Can you imagine living on Kraft Dinner or Mr. Noodle? As givers we are looking after the nutritional needs of others, more often than not, those recipients are children. Just as I wouldn’t want to feed my children KD at every meal because it isn’t good for them, the poor don’t want to either. They want their children, and themselves, to be healthy.
People going through tough financial times still need protein and fruits and vegetables just like everyone else. Some needing food hampers are elderly with reduced sodium diets and diabetics in need of lower carbohydrate meals. Often the food we throw into the bin aggravates these conditions.
Ask yourself, if you were receiving this hamper, what would you hope to get to feed your family? Or contact your local food bank and ask what items they need most. This Christmas, I encourage your generosity. You could be helping a family just like mine.