Thanksgiving is always one of those times of the year when we feel more inclined to be generous. Maybe because there is much to be thankful for in our own lives, or maybe because of the guilt that comes with gluttony. In the Jewish tradition, as in many others, there is an ingrained link between food and love which has led to many hefty, well-loved Jewish children and generations of dieting neuroses. Maybe for this reason, too (the equating food with love, not the neuroses) we find that food-based holidays generate a ritualistic impulse to spread the food, and hence the love. Though the first of the seasonal holidays has come and gone - which means the downhill to the consumer capitalist monster of all holidays is on its way - we know this year that the need at food banks and soup kitchens is higher now than it has been in the last ten years. In 2007, when financial consequences were even less extreme than they are now, 1 in 25 US households reduced their food intake due to a financial shortage, and 1 in 6 households with children could not afford adequate sustenance. (USDA from Time, 12/01/08)
As Thanksgiving comes and goes, and many of us have volunteered to give out a turkey, or a basket, or donate a day to the soup kitchen, remember that there are 364 other days in the year, and we all need to eat on each and every one of those days as well.
I want to reprint an email I got from John Mathews, a quiet guy who works at the front office in the Department of Urban Planning at the School of Public Affairs. It seems he ran a 10k for the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services Center and still needs to raise $70 to reach his total goal of $250. I think his spirit of humor, with a touch of truth, is worth supporting. Let's see if we can put John over his goal, even if it's one yam at a time. I sure wish I had done this instead of that extra five pounds of potatoes!
Look, you know you all hate it, that avalanche of food that overwhelms you during the holidays! What do you do with it all? Well, here's a chance to get rid of that problem once and for all!
Donate some money that would normally go towards a second tray of mashed potatoes, or yams, or some other horrible tragedy of food that would just be piled on more food and smother you in your sleep. Take that money instead and give it to some people on the street who are hungry. Make it their problem!
After all, why should you have to deal with too much food for the holidays? You work hard all year. Get rid of that extra food, donate canned goods, and donate some cash so that all that extra food can be someone else's problem! You deserve it!