Thursday, May 27, 2004

Well, ok. I did start volunteering at our local food bank again. Years ago, I worked in their warehouse a few times, went to the cannery a few times and worked in the garden raising food for other people. One day I stood up from weeding, looked around and thought, "Where are all the people I'm doing this work for? Why are they not out here helping me help them?". I put the trowel down and stopped showing up.

Years roll by and the nagging feeling remains that the help we can offer people in the way of education, drug rehab and general counseling isn't possible unless people are well fed. Hungry people have a hard time accepting advice and direction. So here I am back again helping people get their food. It's more symbolic than necessary in this affluent town, I imagine, but still, it's a contribution.

A few years ago, a man stopped me in the grocery store parking lot asking for a hand out. I said I didn't have any cash (I really didn't) but offered him some food that I had in my bag. "Nah," he said. "Food's not the problem. There is so much free food in this town." I wished him luck and he went on his way.

Maybe something I do at the food bank will end up helping truly hungry people somewhere. It's a pretty congenial place to spend some time, anyway.