Hell-oween is over, which means it is now officially the holiday season. This is the time when society really gets into the giving mood. A time of fundraising, toy drives for children in need, and food drives for those with less. Working in a children’s home for over 12 years, I have come to look forward to the holidays, because we are often recipients of many food drives. It is the time of the year when our diet becomes a little less institutional, when we and the children get to experience some foods that normal people can buy at the grocery store, without having to buy it out of our own resources to share with the children in our cottage. Unfortunately it is also the time of the year that people use to clean the garbage out of their pantries.
Unfortunately, many of the items we receive are not fit for consumption. This last Friday I was excited to be able to serve “Manwich” sloppy-joes to my kids. I cooked up my ground beef, drained the grease and grabbed my cans off the shelf. I got out my can opener, loaded the can into it, and gave it a good squeeze. When the blade pierced the metal, instead of there being a sucking sound from breaking the vacuum, there was a blowing sound as fermented tomato blew all over my shirt. Not to be deterred I tried the second can only to have the same result. I then looked at the date on the cans to find they had both expired over two years ago. Since I was a quick thinker, and not at all interested in serving “tomato paste and dry mix” sloppy joes again, I found a packet of taco seasoning and served taco burgers.Â Turned out to be a great thing, and once they got past the idea of taco meat on a bun, the kids thoroughly enjoyed them, but that’s not my point.
My point is this. Are you really benefiting anybody by donating food that you wouldn’t serve to your family? Should it be ok to use the holidays as a time to clean out your pantry? I don’t think so. I have to admit that at one time, I was guilty of the very same thing. I quickly became reformed when 15 years ago my daughter was born 6 weeks premature, my wife had a stroke giving birth to her, and I lost my job because I had to be home taking care of them. That Thanksgiving and Christmas we would have eaten ramen noodles, were it not for the Boy Scouts Food Drive. It was then I realized how wrong I was to donate my junk to those in need.
I was very thankful that the next year I was able to be a giver rather than a receiver and I gave with a huge difference from previous times.Â I went through my pantry, picked out my favorite foods and donated them to that year’s Boy Scouts Food Drive. I have even in recent years gone out and bought special food just to donate to food drives.
Please give if you can, there will be even more in need this year than in other years. But when you give, give like you would like to be given to, because it very well could be you on the receiving end one day.