Every time there’s a canned food drive I try to do the right thing. I poke around in my cabinet and pull out some canned yams, maybe a can of peas or olives. Then I throw it in a plastic bag with a prayer and virtueously give it away. I’m so generous and awesome. Homeless hungry people must really think I’m wonderful.
For the past four months we’ve had a little boy staying with us who, according to school records and DHS is “a homeless unaccompanied youth”. His parents are currently drifting around staying with friends and sometimes living in a tent. I’m not going to talk about them cause they make me crazy.
Every week this little boy, Jason, brings home a plastic bag full of food. He explained to me on the first week that Miss Susan, his counselor, puts the bag in his back pack on Fridays. The school knows he gets breakfast and lunch during the week but they want to make sure he has food on the weekends.
I was stunned and had no idea this was going on in our school district. My first instinct was to tell the school not to send the food home with Jason. We have food. Then I realized he was kind of proud of his contribution. He liked putting it in the cabinets and always asked if I was using his rice or peanut butter.
This week when I opened Jason’s backpack I was kind of disgusted. There was a can of pinto beans, a can of generic tomato soup, pumpkin pie filling, one granola bar and six ounces of rice. Seriously, that’s what Jason was supposed to eat over the weekend? I do understand the beans are loaded with fiber and protein but do you really think a ten year old boy is going to dive into that can?
Who the hell sent this home with a supposedly homelesskid? Then I realized I was the sanctimonious contributor. I’m the one who cleans out my cabinets and gives hungry people ancient canned yams. I’m the one who previously thought they should be happy with whatever they got. What a bitch.
No matter how lazy or entitled his parents are, Jason deserves better.
So next time there’s a canned food drive spend five dollars and get some Raviolis, a jar of peanut butter, he even likes Vienna Sausages. But you keep the flavorless pinto beans, yams and beef broth. Just like your kids, (yeah, think about what your kids actually want to eat) Jason doesn’t have any idea what to do with that stuff.