Going to the local weekly (now twice a week) Food Bank for the first time was one of a series of steps in letting go of pride. This is a small town. The Food Bank is a pickup truck that parks next to the main road with a sign. Anyone could see me. Many people recognize my car, as I recognize others’.
It was only after I talked with someone about how it works that I learned many of the people who pick up the free Food Bank produce do not need free food. They take it for convenience or I suppose to save a few dollars. Being an old leftist activist with radical economic views, my first reaction was indignation that people without economic challenges would take food intended for the “needy.” (Wow, I am now one of “the needy.”) But then I observed that the Food Bank usually has more food than they can give away, and I dropped my self-righteous judgments. In any case, the class diversity of Food Bank users let me relax about using it myself.
I also had to question anyone’s ability to make judgments about who is economically challenged and who is not, unless they personally know them well. As a former fundraiser one of my first lessons was that you can tell little to nothing about a person’s economic status from their appearance. The richest gentlewoman rancher can look like a bum in ripped faded jeans, and the man who looks like a million bucks might be in debt up to his eyebrows.
In this economy, anyone might be struggling, whether temporarily or longer term.