Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Reflection: Ciona Rouse

It's been one full week of the Food Stamp Challenge. I've noticed that I think about food a lot more since the challenge started. I suppose I thought about food a lot before the challenge, actually, but now I'm trying my best to ignore Chick-fil-A when I drive by it instead of ordering a #5 with Cherry Coke, no ice. And I ignored the chocolate chip cookie dough that called to me in Harris Teeter on my way to get eggs. I even ignored the Fuji apples, which are my favorite kind, but it made no sense to spend $2.49/lb. when a bundle of oranges were so cheap. In trying to ignore these foods, I thought about food more and more.

I do not complain, though. I have eaten well this week. Most meals have not been as exciting as the days when I might create a shopping list solely based on one amazing Rachel Ray recipe. I've eaten, though, and I've eaten pretty well.

I had a friend buy a meal for me, and I was very grateful for our dinner together. I traveled for work, too, and my colleague treated me to a feast at a Moroccan restaurant. She did not know about the challenge when she offered. I had not eaten since breakfast that morning, so when I ate that meal, I had felt the pain of hunger for hours. It was nice to receive a filling free meal.

So far, I'm reminded of the joy of community. We are not islands. My $21 does not go very far. But when Lanecia and I purchase food together, $42 seems a bit more filling. Gifts from friends are sheer blessings. So how can I be in community better with my neighbors who wonder where they will get their next meal? What gift can I give that might be someone's sheer blessing without my even knowing it?


LAR said...

Thanks for sharing Ciona. I have found that I am surrounded by peope who love me, meeting my needs before even knowing my needs.
The weekend was difficult at the youth retreat. There were so many moments when I wanted to fill the down time with a snack here or a coffee there. Before the challenge, filling times of "nothingness" with a starbucks coffee or quick snack was something I would do without a second thought.
I also found myself eating with others more last week than I usually do.
I am also more mindful of waste. The other morning I was suprised by my reaction and frustration over a pot of beans left out overnight.

Mollie said...

We've just begun week 2 at the Henry house. I was so grateful that yesterday was grocery day. We didn't miss any meals, but by Tuesday morning we were out of milk, fruit, vegetables and bread.

I can't imagine doing this with less people. I think it's easier for us to do with a weekly budget of $105 for 5 people rather than Ciona and Lanecia doing it as 2 people on $42.

So far, my biggest observation is that it's doable, but not without determination, creativity, optimism, a little time, and some math and cooking skills. Many of these items are in short supply among folks for whom food stamps are a way of life.

David Henry said...

As Mollie said, there is enough food on the plan, it's just not the heaping, plate bending, can I get a to-go box please portions that we're used to. We live in a time of such excess, it's really healthy to find ways like this challenge to learn how to cut back on our eating and our spending. So thanks to Ciona for getting us on the right path.

I've been thinking more about what it's like to have to rely on the government for some basic needs of life. The real shame here is that it's the government and not our churches that is filling this role. I wonder what Jesus would say to that.

Ciona said...

So true, David. I don't know what some people would do without government support because the church universal is not always stepping to the plate when it comes to issues of poverty.

And sorry about the beans, Lanecia. :)